Local governments across the country are not cracking down on short-term leases as Airbnb-style rentals outnumber long-term rentals.
A total of 11 counties took no action last year against homeowners who rent homes to vacationers on popular short-term rental websites.
As the housing crisis deepens, the number of properties available for long-term rentals has dwindled while short-term rentals have exploded in popularity.
According to the current rules, properties without planning permission should not be rented on rental portals such as Airbnb for more than 90 days per year.
Properties require a special building permit for short-term rental or tourism purposes if they are to be rented out all year round.
However, figures for 2021 show that councils in just 15 counties are cracking down on any rentals that may have been advertised on Airbnb for longer than the 90 days without planning permission.
These counties are the only ones in the past year where councils have issued warnings to landlords or launched investigations into properties suspected of being rented out for longer than permitted periods.
Meanwhile, an analysis by Labor Party Senator Rebecca Moynihan also showed that when a snapshot was taken in March, almost all boroughs had a significantly larger number of properties advertised for short-term stays on Airbnb than those available on Daft.ie Property.
The Airbnb website only shows a maximum of 300 accommodations in a given county, a number reached by many popular tourist destinations.
Counties that are popular for stays or are along the Wild Atlantic Way Route appears to be the hardest hit, with at least 300 properties available on the Airbnb site in Donegal, but only 19 are advertised on Daft.ie, according to analysis.
Meanwhile, over 300 Mayo properties were advertised on Airbnb at this point, but only 18 were available on Daft.ie.
Over 300 Airbnb properties were advertised in Clare, of which only 18 were available on Daft.ie.
However, no warning letters were sent out and no investigations launched in Donegal, Mayo or Clare last year.
But in 2021, 323 warning letters and 325 investigations were launched in Dublin.
At the time of Senator Moynihan’s analysis, there were more than 300 accommodations on Airbnb and over 500 on Daft.ie in the capital.
Similarly in Cork, where 286 short-term properties were advertised on Airbnb, only 75 on Daft.ie.
However, last year 68 warning letters were issued with 94 inquiries launched by the two Cork Councils.
Wicklow also has only 28 properties on Daft.ie and only 93 properties on Airbnb at the time of analysis. However, in 2021, 157 investigations were opened.
The data shows that 12 counties did not issue any warnings and 11 did not open an investigation last year. While Limerick issued no warnings, it launched 75 investigations.
“Local authorities are clearly not enforcing Airbnb,” Senator Moynihan said. “This appears to be a particular problem in popular tourism districts where we know rents have risen by double digits.
“In the midst of a housing crisis, we have more houses for tourism than for rent in every single county except Dublin.
“We need long-term homes for the people in those areas and we should enforce the rules that are in place there.”
While some councils have not issued warning letters or launched investigations because the properties advertised on Airbnb could be available less than 90 days per year or have special planning permission, housing expert Lorcan Sirr said there was a lack of available data.
“It’s like a lot of other Irish regulations – we have a lot of rules but we don’t have enforcement,” he said.
The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has previously said short-term rental regulations are “a very difficult area to enforce effectively”. It made the comments in its review of Galway County Council’s planning functions.
Deputy Housing Secretary Peter Burke said there was “considerable work” going into the implementation and enforcement of regulations by planning authorities.
“Notwithstanding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, planning authorities have made significant efforts to implement and enforce the regulations since they came into force,” he said.
“Local planning authorities are responsible for the implementation and enforcement of short-term lease planning agreements and provide quarterly data feedback to my department,” he said in a recent response to a parliamentary question.
“People renting property in a rental pressure zone that is not their primary private residence must apply for a change of use planning permit unless the property already has specific planning permission for tourism or short-term rental purposes.”
Short-term rentals are not just limited to the Airbnb website. And Derek Nolan, Ireland’s public policy director at Airbnb, said the majority of hosts only rent one property and for a third of them short-term rentals are “an economic lifeline”.
“Airbnb has long supported calls for regulation in Ireland and continues to support the development of clear and fair rules. The Government is committed to introducing a registration system in Ireland and we want to be good partners to make home sharing rules easy for everyone,” he said.
The company is believed to have signed over 1,000 regulatory and tax agreements worldwide.
Airbnb travel contributed nearly €800m to the Irish economy in 2019 and Oxford Economics estimated Airbnb’s impact in Ireland supported more than 6,000 jobs in the economy.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/revealed-the-counties-that-are-clamping-down-on-airbnb-rentals-and-the-ones-that-arent-41595034.html Revealed: The counties in Ireland cracking down on Airbnb rentals… and those that aren’t