Housing charity Threshold has welcomed the introduction of new regulations governing short-term lettings, but has called for them to be extended to rural towns to free up houses for people looking for longer-term housing solutions.

Under the new regulations, which come into effect on 11 July, short-term lettings of houses or apartments which are not a principal private residence will now require planning permission for change of use.

Property owners will have to change the status from residential to a holiday home, should they wish to let the property for more than 90 days of the year.

Threshold chief executive John-Mark McCafferty welcomed the measures saying they should increase the supply of houses available to rent.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the regulations sought to strike a balance between the facility of home sharing - where owners can let rooms out - but to limit the number of non-principal private residencies available to rent on a short-term basis, thus excluding them from families or those looking for a solution to homelessness.

Mr McCafferty said that of the nearly 6,000 Airbnbs available to rent in Dublin in one week in March, more than 3,500 of them were entire homes.

He said that while the regulations will initially focus on rent pressure zones, there are many rural areas with a lot of housing pressure and very few private rentals available.

In areas such as Kilkenny and Sligo where tourism in strong, Threshold wants to see restrictions on short-term lettings to also apply.

Mr McCafferty also said there is a need to define what falls into the category of executive lets under these rules.

In a statement, Airbnb said it wants to work with Government on "clear and effective home sharing rules that are good news for everyone".

It added: "We have shared concerns with the Government that current proposals are unenforceable and that rather than addressing local housing concerns, they would hurt local families, limit consumer choice and damage local economies.

"We have proposed clear rules that we believe balance the needs of everyone and that are consistent with our proactive approach in working with more than 500 governments around the world to help hosts share their homes, follow the rules and pay their fair share of tax."

Fianna Fáil's housing spokesperson Darragh O'Brien said the party broadly supports new legislation concerning short-term letting, but cautioned there is more work to be done.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr O'Brien said it will be a "stretch" to have the legislation in place by early July, which Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy had said.

Mr O'Brien also said he had concerns about the impact of the legislation on "accidental landlords".

He said there are a lot of people in negative equity, some of them in mortgage arrears, and are paying their mortgage through renting out a property.

Mr O'Brien said this is something he hoped could be addressed when the Dáil debates the legislation.

He also said there would be no issue for people who are renting out a room in the house they live in, or for people operating Bed and Breakfasts.