Bacik backs bill to end Airbnb monopolisation of the housing market

Ivana Bacik TD
03 June 2021

Dublin Bay South candidate Senator Ivana Bacik has said if elected, she would work to implement legislation to end Airbnb’s grasp on the housing market in Dublin and other cities. Citing a report by the European Commission, Senator Bacik said that Government cosying with corporates needs to end. People renting in cities are just as entitled to set down roots in vibrant communities. Airbnb needs to be reined in from gobbling up homes from the market.

Senator Bacik said:

“For years, I have been raising concerns about the massive increase in the use of short term lets in our cities where houses and apartments that could be rented long term as homes are being used as hotel rooms. When the pandemic hit this time last year, apartments flooded from Airbnb to the private market.

“The European Commission report on the Irish economy published today shows that the collapse of tourism in Ireland caused rental supply to increase by 64% in Dublin in February 2021 compared with the previous year as landlords converted short term lets. The evidence is clear – Airbnb is removing properties from the market that could be used as homes for those struggling to put a roof over their heads.

“When he was the housing minister, Eoghan Murphy, backed by the Fine Gael Government and supported by Fianna Fáil, failed to act to regulate this sector and the Government have been happy to turn a blind eye to the flouting of planning regulations. We urgently need legislation and regulations to tackle this.

“Across Dublin in particular the trend of increasing use of short term lets is causing havoc in communities and apartment complexes. This cannot be allowed continue.

“An Bord Pleanála has ruled that commercial planning permission is needed but local authorities and the Department have not acted to enforce this.

“If elected to serve the people of Dublin Bay South, I would reintroduce Labour’s Short Term Letting Bill which, if passed, would mean if a property is being made available for short term lets for six weeks or more in a year, planning permission would be required. Anyone providing a platform for management services or the hire of short term lets would also have to register with the Property Services Regulatory Authority. This would go a long way to level the playing field and ensure there are enough places for people to rent. We are living through a housing crisis. We need to prioritise people over corporations like Airbnb.

“The maintaining of a register is essential as it will prevent homeowners from jumping from one letting platform to another, which will allow people to supersede the regulations. It will also allow planning enforcers easy access to what properties are being let. Companies that don’t will be subject to a fine of up to €50,000.

“Our city communities deserve more. We need to be ambitious and build vibrant villages and communities. Housing is a fundamental human right that underpins every aspect of life and wellbeing. We need to change the market to work for people, not funds.”

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