New register for short-term rentals due to open before the end of 2022

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien

Melanie Finn and Gabija Gataveckaite

A register for landlords looking to rent their properties on a short-term basis and be overseen by Fáilte Ireland is expected to be put in place before the end of this year.

A spokesperson for Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has said work is already under way to introduce the new system to regulate short-term rentals (STR) and holiday lettings.

"It will be based on best international practice and with a view to ensuring the availability of long-term residential accommodation, balanced with the needs of the tourism sector,” she said.

“Funding was allocated in Budget 2022 to Fáilte Ireland which has been tasked with the design and implementation of a new short-term lettings registration system. The agency is currently recruiting staff to work on the project.

“The Department of Tourism is also scoping out the legislative provisions that will be required to underpin the new registration system with a view to these provisions being enacted in 2022.”

The Government made a commitment to implement the new registration system as part of its “Housing for All Plan”, which was published last September.

This laid out its strategy to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 houses per year over the next decade.

In relation to the 2019 legislation to regulate short-term lettings in Rent Pressure Zones, Minister O’Brien’s spokesperson said “significant work” on the implementation and enforcement of the regulations has been undertaken by planning authorities.

The comments came after an Irish Independent interview with Airbnb’s general manager for northern Europe Amanda Cupples, who said she knows that both her company and Ireland “has a problem”.

She was calling for more government reforms to letting laws to enable it to ban non-registered property owners from its platform and only let pre-approved hosts rent out their accommodation.

The company has come in for much criticism for taking homes out of the rental market, especially those in Rent Pressure Zones.

Despite Ireland adopting new rental regulations to crack down on the practice of cashing-in on short-term listings in 2019, many say they do not go far enough.

The Irish Self-Catering Federation (ISCF), which represents owners of more than 4,500 properties in mainly rural locations, said it is “delighted” that Fáilte Ireland will oversee the register for STRs.

Chairperson Máire ni Mhurchú said it has been calling for a register to be implemented since 2017.

Working alongside the European Holiday Homes Association (EHHA), it recently called on the EU Commission to publish its legislation on STR, which was due out before the end of this month.

The ISCF has already sent details of every member’s property to Fáilte Ireland as they are all registered with the organisation.

“The register in Portugal has had a 98pc acceptance and their tourism sector is now booming,” she said.

Travel writer Michelle Walsh Jackson said she would love to see a return to a more “organic hospitality” model. "I’m not a fan of Airbnb as I think corporations like them are ruining the unique B&B model that we had,” she said.

“However, I don’t blame landlords for turning rental properties into Airbnbs as there is a greater return.” She believes much of the blame for the current crisis lies with vulture funds building schemes for rent and said these are “more dangerous and knocking prospective buyers out of the market-place to purchase homes.”

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