Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien has revealed that just 3% of eligible properties have applied for planning permission or registered under new short-term lettings rules.
An FOI compiled by Deputy O’Brien shows no additional staff are in place in 17 out of 18 affected local authorities to enforce the new laws banning long term Air BnB and other short-term lettings.
Under the rules in place since July 1st any non-principal private homes used for short term lettings must apply for planning permissions while principal primary residencies used for short term lettings are subject to a 90-night limit for the whole home and must notify the local authority.
The FOI covered all 18 local authorities where Rent Pressure Zones are in place and the new laws around short-term lettings apply. The FOI shows that just 16 planning permission applications have been received for change of use on short term letting properties across the entire country.
Deputy O’Brien said: “Fine Gael are more interested in press releases than policies. It’s clear that the laws in place since the summer are not being taken seriously by the government. They have not provided any support to Local Authorities to implement the new rules. The result is that the laws are being flouted left, right and centre. Councils are writing begging letters to the Department looking for the resources to implement the rules and have been completely ignored to date.”
In addition, just 401 notifications have been received for private homes used for short term lettings, the majority in Dublin city centre. In comparison there are 14,300 properties available for short term rent across the relevant rent pressure zone areas on Air BnB, all of which should have been either applied for a change of use planning permission or notified their local authority.
There have been 162 complaints and 60 enforcement warnings in relation to the rules nationally. Each local authority has requested additional staff and resources to implement the new rules but outside of 3 staff in Dublin city council no others are in place.
“These rules are important in ensuring we keep units in the rental market, open up opportunities for first time buyers and protect communities from being transformed into holiday home centres. The fanfare around announcements has not been followed up by actual implementation of the new laws. It says it all about Fine Gael in power, all spin and no substance. We now need full resources to be distributed to councils and the rules fully implemented. The laws should then be reviewed and improved after 12 months in operation to make sure they are fit for purpose”. Deputy O’Brien concluded.