herald

Wednesday 21 August 2019

€5k fine or six months jail for breaking new Airbnb rules

John-Mark McCafferty
John-Mark McCafferty

New short-term letting regulations introduced today could see those who flout the rules fined €5,000 or jailed for six months.

Airbnb said its "hosts" had not had "sufficient time and information to adapt", but Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said there would be no grace period for the law to take effect.

The new Government rules mean properties will no longer be available for short-term letting apart from those with planning permission.

However, permission is unlikely to be granted in the majority of scenarios.

Housing charity Threshold's chief executive John-Mark McCafferty said he was "concerned" the regulations "have not filtered down to hosts".

However, the rules would "release badly needed housing on to the market" and "have a positive impact for those families who are currently experiencing homelessness", he added.

"If properly enforced, the regulations should release much-needed rental homes back into the market," Mr McCafferty said.

Essential

"At a time when 1,729 families and a further 4,000 individuals are homeless, measures such as this are an essential part of the overall housing solution."

Airbnb said: "We are continuing our work with hosts to help them understand and comply with the new regulations.

"We remain concerned that hosts have not had sufficient time and information to adapt and that visitors to Ireland may be negatively impacted."

The Government introduced the new rules in April by altering the Planning and Development Act 2000.

Those who rent short-term in rent pressure zones in Dublin, Galway, Cork and Limerick, must either register with their local council as landlords, or apply for change-of-use planning permission.

Only those who rent out a room or a property for 90 days or less can register.

Those letting a home for more than 90 days, or landlords renting a second property to tourists or others short-term, must apply for planning.

The maximum penalty for breaching the regulations is €5,000 or six months in jail.

In March, Airbnb wrote to the Department of Housing saying that the economic cost of the regulations had not been taken into account.

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