Questions are outstanding on a proposed registration system for short term property rentals such as AirBNB, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Tim Lombard said regulations requiring AirBNB operators to register with Fáilte Ireland will be operational in 2023 but much work remains beforehand.
“It is essential the legislation underpinning this new system is comprehensive and frees up badly-need housing in areas of high demand.
“The availability of AirBnB rentals far outstrips the supply of badly needed long-term rental accommodation throughout the country. This is a matter I have consistently raised in the Oireachtas as there must be proper enforcement of the duration of the booking and planning permissions.
“Responsibility for developing and delivering the legislation lies with the Department of Tourism and Fáilte Ireland, with input from the Department of Housing and engagement is continuing. However, work remains on its implementation.
“I received confirmation in the Seanad that the Department of Tourism is currently scoping out the legislative provisions required for the new registration system with a view to it being enacted in the current year. The new Fáilte Ireland short-term letting registration system will be operational from next January.
“While this is welcome, questions remain about what the new regulations on owners will be, will there be new requirements on the time period for lettings, will they have to obtain new planning permission for commercial purposes, and what legal onus will that place on property owners.
“This is about moving away from a system of self-regulation which has been in place heretofore. We want owners of short-term rentals to be compliant with the planning regulations so that we can have appropriate mix of business and residential properties in key areas.
“This week in Kinsale, a town close to my home, 60 properties are on Airbnb for rent, while just three are on Daft.ie. We must have regulation of this sector or else the letting of these short-term properties will have a detrimental impact on the housing market and in towns in my own constituency.
“Legislation was introduced by Fine Gael in 2019 to free up properties which are currently used for short term lettings or Airbnb and introducing them back into the traditional long-term rental sector.
“Landlords have an obligation to register any tenancy with the Residential Tenancy Board. Anyone who wants to rent out their property for short-term lets in a rent pressure zone must gain planning permission in order to do so through their local authorities.
“However it is clear some landlords are not applying for this permission, and they should only be letting properties for up to 90 days annually and for a maximum of 14 days at a time.
“We need to ensure accommodation is not overly diverted to the short-term letting sector at the expense of local people seeking long-term rental accommodation, with due regard to the housing needs in the area concerned,” Senator Lombard concluded.