Dublin local authorities have issued enforcement orders to a mere 35 property owners believed to be illegally short-term leasing their homes through websites such as Airbnb over the past two years, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
This is despite more than 2,700 people leasing properties to tourists without the proper permission in the capital. The rising popularity of Airbnb and other short-term leasing websites has put huge pressure on the rental sector and added to the worsening housing crisis.
Property owners who want to operate their homes as bed-and-breakfast accommodation must apply for planning permission from their local authority to commercially lease houses.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney recently confirmed it was a breach of planning laws to rent a property as tourism accommodation without the permission of a local authority.
Dublin Bay South Labour Party Senator Kevin Humphreys, who has been campaigning for more regulation around short-term lease properties, said he believed thousands of people were illegally operating Airbnbs in the capital.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Mr Humphreys show the four Dublin local authorities have issued enforcement orders to only 35 property owners operating short-term leases in the past two years.
"The introduction of short-term leasing into the Irish real estate market has negatively affected Irish working families," the Senator said.
"It has taken homes that could be used by working people off the market and put them into the tourist market."
Mr Humphreys said short-term leases have also "negatively affected" the tourism industry by taking business away from hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts which are operating within the rules.
"Dublin alone has over 2,500 properties being used as full-time short-term leasing properties. It is essential to the service of Irish families and the protection of the tourism industry that we regulated short-term leasing," he added.
Mr Humphreys said he has also been inundated with complaints from residents in his constituencies who are forced to live beside houses operating as Airbnbs.
"Some weekends a dozen lads on a stage party could move in next door to them," he said.