No extra DCC staff hired to enforce new letting laws

Updated / Friday, 28 Jun 2019 15:16

Airbnb has warned that visitors to Ireland may be negatively affected by the new regulations

By Louise Byrne

Dublin City Council has confirmed no additional staff have been hired to enforce new regulations on short-term letting which come into effect on Monday.

The laws will effectively ban year-round, short-term lets like Airbnb, in private properties in areas where the housing crisis is at its most acute.

Local authorities are tasked with enforcing the regulations, however, Dublin City Council has said that it has only recently been given funding to recruit staff to deal with the issue.

"It is anticipated that (new staff) will be in place in the coming months which will lead to a more proactive approach in this area," the local authority confirmed.

"The Planning Enforcement Section in the meantime will deal with these regulations insofar as is practical having regard to all priorities within the section".

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that funding had been made available for 12 new staff members to enforce the regulations in Dublin City Council.

He said that existing staff in the Council's planning department would also be able to process changes to the law.

Mr Murphy added that during the current housing crisis, rental properties could not be used for "tourism to make an even greater profit".

"We shouldn't put the tourist economy above the needs of children in emergency accommodation".

"If we can even get 1,000 homes back into the long term rental market. That is no small thing," he said.

Meanwhile, Airbnb has warned that visitors to Ireland may be negatively affected by the new regulations.

The company said hosts have not had sufficient time to adapt to the regulations and have not been warned to stop accepting bookings.

Airbnb called for the Government to "allow a reasonable period of time between rules being finalised and enforced, to help local hosts understand and adapt to the new measures".

It said visitors to Ireland have not been warned that their trip may be affected.

What will the new regulations mean?

In designated rent-pressure zones, which cover Dublin and major commuter towns as well as Galway and Cork cities and part of Limerick, councils will need to grant planning approval for any short-term letting of investment properties.

Where a house or apartment is a person's principal private residence, they will be permitted to rent out a room (or rooms) within their home for short-term letting without restriction.

However, they will only be allowed to sub-let their entire house without planning permission on the short-term market for a cumulative period of 90 days or less annually.

Individuals who own a second property will no longer be allowed to arrange short-term lettings, unless the property already has permission to be used for such purposes or for tourism.

In a letter to local authorities the Department of Housing said it was unlikely any new applications would be approved due to housing shortages.

Impact

Organisers of conventions in Dublin city this summer have said they are worried about a potential reduction in accommodation supply.

Sci-fi convention, ComicCon, is expecting in excess of 20,000 attendees at the Convention Centre in Dublin this August.

However, co-founder, Karl Walsh, told RTÉ News they were worried some will stay away if the supply of Airbnb and other short-term lets is diminished.

"It will definitely have an impact. A good percentage of our attendees aren't from Dublin," said Mr Walsh.

"It is an expensive show to run and if there are 1,000 people who decide to only go for one day rather than two that has a knock-on effect for us.

"People just can't afford it".

Airbnb maintains that it does not have a significant impact on housing supply in the city, adding that there are there are more than ten times as many vacant dwellings (245,460) in Ireland than active listings on Airbnb.