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Irish Government Steps Up Plans To Clamp Down On Airbnb Landlords

Ireland has more than 15,000 Airbnb properties that could be used as homes.

The Irish government has stepped up its plans to fine Airbnb landlords and agents if they fail to comply with planning laws.

Ireland's Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has said that the government will bring forward legislation before the summer recess that is expected to build on a Sinn Féin proposal to introduce spot fines for landlords who do not adhere to guidelines over short-term lettings.

Rules governing short-term letting became law in July 2019, meaning that people who rented their homes on sites such as Airbnb were only allowed to do so if the property was their primary residence and if that home was within a designed rent pressure zone.

Homeowners were also given a cap of 90 days per year for renting out their home for a maximum of 14 days at a time. People who do not comply face a fine of up to €5K or six months in prison.

The rules were designed to be overseen by local authorities; however, there have been numerous complaints the laws have not been enforced.

As reported by landlord property website Landlordzone, O'Brien said he would rather see homes used for long-term lets and is looking at what the Irish government can do on an emergency basis.

“The regulations by the way for second homes that people have, they should not be let out on a short-term letting basis even under the current regulations unless they have planning permission to do so, so there are people out there letting properties on a short-term basis that are in breach of the current regs," he said.

The political pressure to clamp down on Airbnb landlords comes as the number of rental properties in Ireland plunged to new lows. 

Website Inside Airbnb Ireland revealed there were 15 times more properties available to rent on the platform than there were available to rent long-term in Ireland.

The website showed that, in total, Airbnb had registered over 15,000 homes as available throughout the Republic, whereas reported only 851 homes available for long-term rent as recently as May 2022.

The report showed that homes to rent in Ireland had hit the lowest level in 15 years, down from over 3,600 available for the same period in 2021.

The severe lack of supply could spur a further wave of development as rent levels rise even higher. 

“With supply shortages prevailing in cities such as Dublin and with the demand for affordable housing continuing to soar, we expect that the [build-to-rent] sector will expand rapidly in the coming years, thereby contributing to the housing market by providing much-needed accommodation," Grayling Properties Managing Director Peter Horgan said.

"Long-term rental purpose-built developments can deliver the large volume of units that cities such as Dublin need to bridge the gap between the demand for accommodation and the shortage of supply."