The clamp-down on turning family homes into holiday accommodation will go some way towards alleviating homelessness
The housing charity Threshold has welcomed the changes announced today by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy restricting the use of badly needed housing for short-term holiday letting.
The charity welcomed the requirement that any short term letting of houses or apartments which are not a principal private residence will now require planning permission for change of use. Threshold has further welcomed the new requirement that short-term letting of an entire principal private residence while the resident is away will also require planning permission, if the letting is for more than 90 days in a year.
“In an analysis of Air BnB data last month we identified 5,762 Airbnb listings in Dublin alone; 41% of which were available as full-time holiday rentals”, according to Threshold CEO John-Mark McCafferty. “60% of all listings were entire homes available to let, meaning that 3,476 housing units were potentially removed from the capital’s housing stock on a permanent basis. Meanwhile in Galway there were 2,452 Airbnb listings that week, and in Cork there were 2,103. Half of these are available as holiday rentals on a full-time basis.
“The number of people who can be accommodated in Airbnb properties far exceeds the current 10,264 homeless figure. While tourists are always welcome and short-term letting platforms, such as Air BnB, have a role to play in the tourist market and wider economy, this volume of short-term lets is taking units that would otherwise be available for long-term rent out of that market,” he said.
“These new restrictions will release badly needed housing onto the market and we believe it can have a positive impact for those families who are currently experiencing homelessness. We have campaigned for such restrictions to begin initially in the Rent Pressure Zone areas, and we welcome that the Minister plans to take this step. However we would urge that it is applied more broadly as soon as possible. In particular, areas of high tourism such as Kilkenny and Sligo also have low levels of rental property available, and we believe the restrictions on short-term lettings should apply there also.”
Threshold noted too that the restriction will not apply to executive lets, and said a definition of this is required to ensure the exemption is not abused. According to Threshold Chairperson Aideen Hayden: “There are many residential properties available on a short term basis in and around business/financial districts where there is still high demand for housing. We don’t believe these should all be removed from the housing market by being let on a short-term basis instead.”
Threshold also welcomed the announcement that purpose built student accommodation will be afforded the protection of the Rent Pressure Zones and recourse to the Residential Tenancies Board for the resolution of disputes. “This is a massive win for students and something we have been calling for, he said.