Tuesday 15 October 2019

'If we didn't have Airbnb, I fear we'd be homeless' - host's worry ahead of crackdown

Critical: Gordon Kelley fears his family would be homeless if it wasn’t for the money they make on Airbnb
Critical: Gordon Kelley fears his family would be homeless if it wasn’t for the money they make on Airbnb
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

An Airbnb host who says short-term letting is helping his family pay back the €300,000 loans they used to build their home has criticised the Government's move to restrict temporary lettings.

Father-of-two Gordon Kelley (42) labelled the move "short-sighted and embarrassing", saying sites such as Airbnb have provided a more streamlined system to welcome tourists away from "soulless hotels" while providing a "vital income" for families like his.

"We built our house in Ringsend, Dublin, in 2017 and we couldn't get funding but we begged and borrowed from friends and family," explained Mr Kelley.

"We took out small loans too, but we quickly realised we had to think outside the box to repay our loans on our home.

"My mother, who has rented her home in New York on Airbnb, told me what a positive experience it was, so we started letting our home out last year during the summer.

"We do it for 90 days and guests have the entire house for €260-a-night for six guests while my wife and I sleep in a relative's attic and the children sleep in the basement.

"We aren't wealthy, we're just using Airbnb as an income to pay back our home loans and if we didn't have Airbnb, I fear we could be homeless."

Financial adviser Mr Kelley, originally from New York, lives in Ringsend with his wife Maggie and their two children, Gordie (9) and Penny Bell (2).

He said the Government has introduced a "populist" response to the housing crisis without actually answering the core problems.

"People renting out housing short term is a tiny percentage of housing and that's not the answer to housing stock," he said. "I walk past shops in Dublin every day with empty apartments above them.

"My house will never be housing stock, so why can't someone who wants to visit Dublin stay here for cheaper than hotels and help me and the local economy, rather than a hotel consortium?

"We live in a wonderful community and when guests visit we tell them all about the cool and quirky places to visit here.

"The local economy wouldn't benefit from tourists like that if they were just going to city centre hotels."


Irish Independent

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