Housing activists occupy Airbnb headquarters in Dublin

Housing activists occupied the offices of Airbnb in Dublin this afternoon to protest against the housing crisis in Ireland.

pen House Dublin, Ireland’s largest architecture festival, is being held this weekend at the company’s flagship offices on Hanover Quay in the docklands.

Protesters from campaign group Take Back the City occupied the building for over an hour today ‘to protest Airbnb’s impact on the housing crisis in Ireland – and the world’.

In a statement released this afternoon, a spokesperson for the group calls for properties in Dublin to be made available as long-term rentals, not short-term ones.

“Our tenant support groups frequently hear of people who have been evicted for ‘major renovations,’ only to find their old homes rented out on AirBnb and other short-term rental platforms,” ​​the statement said.

“In August 2018, there were 3,165 full properties for rent on AirBnb in Dublin, compared to 1,329 properties available for long-term rental on Daft.ie.”

In a statement to Independent.ie this evening, an AirBnB spokesperson said the company was “disappointed” the protest disrupted the Open House Dublin event.

“Airbnb is an economic lifeline for countless Irish families and we are proud to have partnered with Open House Dublin for many years to celebrate our creative community. We are disappointed that a small peaceful protest has disrupted business. We thank the local hosts for their hard work in showcasing the best of Irish creativity and apologize to all those involved,” the spokesperson said.

Aisling Hassell, CEO of Airbnb’s Irish branch and head of global guest experience, has previously defended her role in the housing crisis and insisted its impact has been exaggerated.

‘We have looked at all the listings we have and this represents around 1% of the housing stock in Ireland,’ she told the Sunday Independent.

“Then we looked at homes that could potentially fall into this long-term rental category, as they were whole homes and they were rented for more than 180 days. That actually drops to 0.16pc. “

Legislation covering the regulation of short-term rental services was due to be introduced but was delayed by an internal government dispute.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Tourism Minister Shane Ross have clashed over who will lead the drafting of the legislation because of the impact the regulations will have on the hospitality sector.

Mr Murphy recently said he plans to introduce regulations similar to those in Toronto, Canada, which allow landlords to rent out their primary residence on websites such as Airbnb. However, other investment properties or second homes can only be rented for at least 28 days at a time.

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