Urgent regulation of short term lettings needed
- Government should request EU to lift 9 month standstill on registration law.
- 12,000 homes could be returned to long term housing use.
Responding to the revelation today that a landlord who evicted tenants is now using a central Dublin property for short term lets, Labour Party Leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik called on the government to request permission from the EU for the lifting of the nine month standstill period on the bill to regulate short term lets.
Deputy Bacik said:
“Labour Councillor Darragh Moriarty outlined in an Irish Times article today by Oliva Kelly, how a landlord evicted up to 45 people from Reuben House in Dublin 8 last summer on the basis that he intended to sell the apartment block. However it is now being advertised on Airbnb as hostel style short term holiday accommodation without planning permission.
“An enforcement notice has been issued, but what this case shows is the lack of protections for renters, and the loss of thousands of homes to the short term letting market. Unfortunately, all the indications are that this is a widespread practice in the housing market. With the lifting of the eviction ban, my fear is that we simply do not have the capacity to investigate and issue enforcement orders for the level of breaches we are anticipating.
“For many years the Labour Party has sought the stronger regulation of short term lets. My former colleague Senator Kevin Humphreys first proposed a Short-term Lettings Bill in 2018 which would have required Airbnbs to be registered with their local authorities. Instead the then Fine Gael government with the support of Fianna Fáil adopted a more light touch model.
“Thankfully the current government finally recognised the need for stronger controls, but their Registration of Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill has been delayed by the EU until the end of 2023. It was originally hoped this law, requiring short term lets to register with Fáilte Ireland would be in place by last month.
“The government itself believes up to 12,000 homes could be freed up and returned to long term use. We saw during the pandemic the return of many short term lets for use as longer term accommodation, but as todays report shows, there is now a trend towards evicting tenants, and turning properties in short term lets. With over 11,700 people in homelessness, we still have too many families in hotels, and too many tourists in homes.
“With a catastrophic housing crisis in Ireland I am asking the government to request that the EU lift its block on the bill due to the chronic shortage of housing in Ireland, and the register be introduced on an interim basis.”