View of Ha’penny bridge on bright sunny day in Dublin, Ireland.
Stricter enforcement on Airbnb and short-term lettings in the Republic of Ireland are needed to protect the housing and rental market.
That’s according to housing activists and opposition politicians that believe regulations introduced last year need to be bolstered ahead of the difficult months and years ahead for the economy.
Last July, regulations around short-term rentals came into effect with a “one host, one home” model that is enforced by local planning authorities.
Eoin O’Broin, a member of parliament and housing spokesperson for Sinn Féin, the main opposition party, told CNBC that the regulations are sound but fall down when it comes to enforcement as the planning system is a “very slow and laborious process.”
For Airbnb hosts renting out a room in the home that they themselves live in, there was little change.
However, for people renting out second homes, holiday homes and other properties that aren’t their primary residence, they are required to obtain a “change of use” planning approval from their local authority. The regulations were introduced to encourage more properties back onto the long-term market. Rising rent costs in cities like Dublin have been a difficult policy issue as the average rent in the capital has risen to 1,709 euros ($2,010), compared to 1,252 euros in the same quarter five years ago.
However there has been a low number of short-term let planning applications filed with authorities despite the number of listings remaining high, as hosts avoid the lengthy application process.
“We always knew the regulations, even if they were good, would fall foul of weak enforcement if it was left to the local authorities. That’s not a criticism of the councils, it’s just the nature of planning enforcement,” O’Broin said.
Ireland’s Department of Housing,