The availability of short-term property rentals on platforms like Airbnb is likely to be drastically curtailed if a set of new restrictions proposed by Housing Minister Daraj O’Brien targeting the sector get the green light.
The Minister is keen to take steps to address the ongoing housing crisis and is keen to be seen as halting the transition of landlords into the short-term rental market.
Under the proposals currently being considered, short-term rentals will be subject to strict new licensing rules while the Residential Rental Board will be given responsibility for monitoring the sector.
These measures form part of the government’s Housing for All policy program and, if implemented, could see thousands of homes return to the long-term rental market across the country.
O’Brien believes that landlords should not be allowed to advertise a short-term lease unless they have planning permission to do so, and he is looking to Lisbon to see if the short-term lease model can be transferred to the Irish market.
Under the rules in place in the Portuguese capital, all short-term rentals require a permit and landlords are obligated to provide guests’ details to the authorities within three days of their arrival at the property. Platforms offering short-term rental properties can be fined if they do not cooperate and allow unregistered hosts to access their services.
Under short-term rental rules in place since 2019, anyone who rents out an entire home in a so-called rent-pressure area for more than 90 days a year must apply for planning permission either on a new basis or keep.
The regulations are currently controlled by local authorities across the state. However, there has been criticism that the rules are not widely enforced, with many homes still being advertised without the required permission.
Much of the focus in recent years has been on Airbnb although since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, demand for short-term rentals, particularly from foreign visitors, has dropped, and revenue here has halved.
While Airbnb keeps details of its rentals secret, unofficial data shows there are nearly 30,000 Irish listings on the site, with nearly half of them rooms inside private homes and outside regulations proposed by O’Brien.
There are about 10,000 full homes « highly available » throughout the year on Airbnb, and the new measures will target at least some of these properties and potentially return them to the long-term rental market.
Any moves that reduce Airbnb availability at popular tourist destinations across the country are likely to have a significant impact on accommodation availability and pricing once international tourism resumes in a significant post-pandemic manner.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing told the Irish Times that details of the new measures are currently being worked out between the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Tourism, Catherine Martin.
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