Thursday 19 October 2017

Property owner needs permission for Airbnb use

Temple Bar residents welcome planning decision on short lets

The Airbnb website offers short-term holiday rentals in houses, flats and apartments. Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The Airbnb website offers short-term holiday rentals in houses, flats and apartments. Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Temple Bar residents have welcomed a ruling that a property owner in the area will have to apply for planning permission to continue to rent it out through Airbnb.

A local residents' association said the decision was the first step towards much-needed regulation of Airbnb and other short-term holiday letting agencies.

An Bord Pleanála yesterday upheld a decision by Dublin City Council that a property owner in Temple Bar must apply for planning permission in order to continue letting out a two-bedroom apartment on Crown Alley.

The property was used for short-term holiday rentals to tourists, reportedly generating €79,000 a year in income.

The Temple Bar Residents group complained to Dublin City Council, arguing the apartment owners must have planning permission to use the property for short-term lettings.

The council described the lettings as a "material change of use under the Planning Act 2000 having regard to its character and its material impacts on the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".

The planning board cited the constant stream of servicing staff and short-term renters coming and going from the property, security concerns and the general disturbance to other residents in their decision.

Temple Bar Residents chairman Frank McDonald welcomed the decision.

But he said Housing Minister Simon Coveney must now "wake up and smell the coffee" and bring in more stringent regulations for Airbnb and similar letting agencies because the sector is "entirely unregulated".

"He needs to realise this is a serious problem," he said.

Along with causing disruption to other residents and neighbourhoods, he said Airbnb lettings are taking over the private residential rental market during the worst housing crisis in Irish history.

"There is an incredibly ironic mismatch here. We have apartments for rent for short-term lettings instead of hotels and yet homeless people being put up in hotels," he said. A spokesman for An Bord Pleanála described yesterday's ruling as a "precedent" that could result in other Airbnb hosts being required to seek planning permission to continue operating or to operate in the future.

While yesterday's ruling is "specific to this development", he said it "does act as a trigger" for others to lodge similar complaints to the council and ultimately the planning body.

"It does stand there as a beacon to other referrals," he said.

An Airbnb spokesman said the ruling applies to a property that "is not representative of typical hosting activity".

He said the typical type of host is a home owner renting out a spare bedroom.

"This is an example of the extreme exception," he said, adding hosts should ensure full compliance with local planning laws.

Irish Independent

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