More than 90pc of Airbnb hosts in Ireland would leave their property idle rather than rent it out to long-term tenants if they are forced to stop operating on the platform by new laws, a survey has indicated.
The new rules are aimed at easing the housing crisis by requiring short-term lets to have the correct planning permission.
The Government has said it aims to free up 12,000 properties for the rental market through a new registration system for homes that are advertised for short-term lets through online platforms.
But in order to sign up to the Fáilte Ireland register, Airbnb hosts must have the appropriate planning permission.
The survey did not include Dublin hosts
However, hosts who act as voluntary community leaders for Airbnb say few hosts have so far been successful in obtaining planning permission and that some have already received enforcement notices from local authorities such as Kerry County Council.
A survey of 181 Airbnb hosts, undertaken by the community leaders, found that 90pc would leave their properties vacant rather than putting them on the rental market.
The survey did not include Dublin hosts. The most common reasons given for leaving their Airbnb units vacant were because the accommodation, such as granny flats and converted farm sheds, were either too close to their own home or because they were concerned about long-term tenants’ rights.
Last Wednesday, the Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht met to discuss the general scheme of the Registration of Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill, which would give formal effect to the Fáilte Ireland register.
More than 70 members of the Clare, Tipperary and Limerick Airbnb Host Club attended a meeting which took place in Limerick City on Monday to discuss their concerns about the upcoming bill.
Airbnb say few hosts have so far been successful in obtaining planning permission
The meeting was attended by TDs Cathal Crowe (Fianna Fáil) and Richard O’Donoghue (Independent) and by Senator Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fáil).
“Planning permission regulations cannot be the same in rural Ireland as they are in large urban areas/cities,” according to a presentation given by an Airbnb host to the Limerick meeting.
“All public representatives need to be made aware of the devastating effect on small towns and villages, including families and hospitality services, if thousands of short-term lets are forced to close,” the host added.