Minister says it’s time to act on Airbnb

Now is the time to further regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnb rentals before international travel resumes, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien confirmed comments he made privately to the parliamentary party Fine Gael that the government intended to crack down on Airbnb rentals that should not advertise online.

According to the new plans, a property would not be allowed to advertise on the platform without the required building permit.

Currently, individuals who rent a home for more than 90 days or owners who rent a second property to tourists or others on a short-term basis must apply for either a new or retention building permit. However, there have been criticisms that this is not properly regulated or enforced and homes are still being advertised without permission.

“Decent regulations were passed in 2019 around the building permit that would be required for any house used more than 90 days a year. The problem has been to enforce that frankly, ”Mr. O’Brien said Thursday in Dublin.

“What we are working on in collaboration with the ministry of Minister Catherine Martin is a mechanism by which you would regulate the platforms. In effect, this means that someone wouldn’t be able to advertise a property for short-term rent unless they received the required building permit to do so.

“Now is the time to do it, especially when we don’t have crowds of international visitors here. We’ve been working on it for some time. We looked at other models in continental Europe in particular. Most European capitals have stricter regulations than ours and I think we can do it in the short term. “

“I hope to complete this (work) by the end of the summer,” he added.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard said that “Airbnb has effectively gutted the life of rental markets in villages, towns and cities across the country, leaving locals unable to access homes.”

He said that an Airbnb property that is occupied for three months during the summer season can make “a lot more money than a property rented for 12 months.”

“However, by renting out properties on a seasonal basis, large amounts of homes across the country are vacant for the vast majority of the year.

“At a time when we are faced with a critical lack of housing supply, we cannot afford to have houses in perfect condition that remain empty for more than 50% of the year. “While tourists may want to book a vacation home for a two-week break during the summer, local families are struggling to find an affordable home.”

Mr Lombard said Kinsale has seen rental prices rise in recent years due to lack of supply in the local property market.

“At the same time, we’ve seen hundreds of homes become available on Airbnb’s website for vacations. The majority of these homes are in residential areas, and when they received planning permission, it was on the basis that the properties would be for residential use only.

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