herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Airbnb host told to apply for planning permission on flat generating €79,000-a-year

Minister Simon Coveney Photo: Doug O'Connor
Minister Simon Coveney Photo: Doug O'Connor

Temple Bar residents have welcomed a landmark ruling by the State planning board as a first step towards much-needed regulation of Airbnb and other short-term holiday letting agencies.

An Bord Pleanala yesterday upheld a ruling by Dublin City Council in which a property owner in Temple Bar must apply for planning permission in order to continue letting out a two-bedroom apartment on Crown Alley.

It was used continuously for short-term rentals to tourists, reportedly generating €79,000 a year in income.

Temple Bar Residents' Asso- ciation complained to Dublin City Council, arguing that the apartment owner must have planning permission to use the property for short-term lettings.

The council described the lettings as a "material change of use under the Planning Act 2000 having regard to its character and material impacts on the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".

The planning board cited the constant stream of servicing staff and short-term renters coming and going from the property, security concerns and the general disturbance to other residents as well as the "fully commercial nature" of the letting as reasons for the need for planning permission.

Temple Bar Residents chairman Frank McDonald welcomed the decision.

He said Housing Minister Simon Coveney must "wake up and smell the coffee" and bring in more stringent regulations for Airbnb and similar holiday letting agencies because the sector is "entirely unregulated".

"He needs to realise this is a serious problem," he said.

Crisis

Along with causing disruption to other residents, he said Airbnb lettings are taking over the private residential rental market during the worst housing crisis in Irish history and forcing up rents in an already overheated rental market.

"There is an incredibly ironic mismatch here. We have apartments for rent for short- term lettings instead of hotels and yet homeless people are being put up in hotels," he said.

A spokesman for An Bord Pleanala described yesterday's ruling as a "precedent" that could result in other Airbnb "hosts" being required to seek planning permission to continue operating or to operate in the future.

While yesterday's ruling is "specific to this development", he said it "does act as a trigger" for others to lodge simi- lar complaints to the council and ultimately the planning body.

An Airbnb spokesman said the ruling applies to a property that "is not representative of typical hosting activity", which is usually a spare room.

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