Monday 16 October 2017

Clampdown on Airbnb rentals with no planning permission

Earnán Ó Cléirigh, a principal officer at the Department of Housing, said that Airbnb has shown a
Earnán Ó Cléirigh, a principal officer at the Department of Housing, said that Airbnb has shown a "willingness" to develop a collaborative plan. (Stock picture)

Robin Schiller

The Government insists it is clamping down on landlords who are circumventing planning laws and illegally using their properties for short-term tourism accommodation.

Talks are under way with Airbnb to prohibit "unauthorised rentals" such as those which do not have proper planning permission.

There are growing concerns about the impact companies such as Airbnb will have on long-term renting amid the current housing crisis.

There are currently 6,729 listings on Airbnb for the capital, with 5,377 of these within the city council area.

Last December, An Bord Pleanála determined that planning permission is required for the exclusive use of a residential apartment for short-term lets.

In response, the Department of Housing took a number of steps which included establishing a working group to "provide full clarity on the appropriate regulatory context for management of short-term tourism related lettings".

But yesterday it emerged that this group only met for the first time last week. Department officials have raised concerns over the impact Airbnb could have on long-term letting in Ireland.

Read More: Housing Minister's €10m extra for homeless

Eoin Ó Broin, a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, accused the Government of "dragging its heels" on the issue.

"Despite the ongoing rental crisis, we have learned that the Government working group established to look at this issue has only met once, and that was last week," Mr Ó Broin said.

The department is now in talks with Airbnb and similar companies on introducing protocols in an attempt to regulate the short-term leasing of homes across the State.

Earnán Ó Cléirigh, a principal officer at the Department of Housing, said that Airbnb has shown a "willingness" to develop a collaborative plan.

"Discussions in this context are ongoing and if successful are intended to form the basis for putting similar arrangements in place with other online platforms.

Unauthorised

"The department's joint commitment with Airbnb is to co-develop protocols and processes to facilitate home sharing while preventing unwelcome and unauthorised rentals being advertised on the Airbnb platform," Mr Ó Cléirigh said.

He was speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, where a senior Dublin City Council official admitted that there was a problem with enforcement.

"When you go to logical conclusion and you are satisfied there has been an offence, there's a threshold of proof for criminal prosecution which can be difficult to get to," Richard Shakespeare, the council's assistant chief executive, said.

Irish Independent

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