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Government dragging its heels on the regulation of short-term lets – Ó Broin

21 June, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin has accused the government of dragging its heels on the regulation of short term lets. 

Speaking today as the issue was debated in the Housing Committee, Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Seven months ago, An Bord Pleanála upheld a ruling that a property owner in Temple Bar required planning permission to continue renting the property out for short-term lets. The former Minister for Housing Simon Coveney supported this ruling and, before Christmas, stated that plans were being made to clamp down on this type of activity.

“Despite the ongoing rental crisis, we have learned that the government working group established to look at this issue has only met once, and that was last week. We know the Department met with Airbnb in January this year and it appears nothing has been achieved since. 

“A stumbling block that was highlighted this morning in the committee is that there is a distinct lack of comprehensive data available on the level of short-term letting and how many units are unavailable for long term rent due to this activity. This is not good enough especially when you consider the demand and lack of supply of rental properties particularly in urban areas.

“From responses to parliamentary questions and exchanges with the former Minister in the Dáil, it is apparent the government is leaning towards a system of self-regulation as it seeks a memorandum of understanding with Airbnb. The truth is Airbnb has a poor record of abiding by actual regulations imposed by cities in other EU member states. 

“Sinn Féin is not opposed to the principle of Airbnb. Short term letting and home sharing make a valuable contribution to the tourist economy and allow families to bring in much needed extra income. 

“However, there is clearly a problem with commercial landlords with multiple listings using Airbnb to maximise profits and in some cases to circumvent planning regulations and tax laws. We urgently need clear regulation that sets out how many days per year units are allowed to be used as short term holiday lets. This must be backed up with strong enforcement and penalties for platforms and landlords who breach these regulations.” 

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