23/06/2020 - 04:45
By Aoife Moore
Aontú have submitted a new bill banning AirBnBs and short-term lets in towns with a population over 10,000.
The party say their proposal would deal with what they call the government's "failed Airbnb legislation".
Leader Peadar Tóibín has submitted the new bill to the Dáil in order to capitalize on the decline in short-term lettings since the Covid-19 pandemic begun.
March and April saw an increase in the number of available rentals across the country as those who had previously rented properties as short term lets to tourists were forced to offer longer stays as tourism flatlined.
Mr Tóibín says now is the time to implement legislation to ensure these available properties are not rented out again short-term, and for maximum profit, as the country continues to battle the housing crisis.
The Aontú Bill would prohibit any short-term lets of non-principle residence in a town or a city with a population of over 10,000 people.
Used as a temporary measure lasting three years with a possible extension to five years, it is aimed at increasing the number of dwellings available for long-term rent.
The Bill defines Short Term lets as periods of time under 28 days in duration, which in effect completely rules out the function of Airbnb for non-principle private residents in large towns and cities for Short Term Lets.
"The number of homes available to rent across the State increased by just under 40% during Covid-19," Mr Tóibín said.
"There was a particular spike in Rental Accommodation availability in Dublin during these months.
“The rise in available properties is understood to have been as a result of the crash in Short Terms Let/Airbnb market due to the Covid-19 crisis and landlords offering them as long term lets instead.
"This equates to a jump of 900 homes available to rent in just a couple of months.
"Rents also fell in these months no doubt due to the economic damage done by Covid-19 but also likely as a result of a 40% increase in supply.
“Last month the number of homes for rent on Airbnb across Dublin was enough to house all the capital’s homeless people.
"This includes over a thousand people living in hotels and hubs in the city.
"There is no doubt that this type of income is pushing house prices up in the city."
The government implemented legislation last year in a ‘one host, one home’ model, in order to attempt to curb the use of short-term rentals in rent pressure zones, however as of last month there was only one prosecution under the new regulations.
An annual cap of 90 days applies for the renting out of a home and homeowners can only rent out their homes for 14 days or less at a time, and needs to be registered with the local authority.
However, Dublin City Council say only 19 people have applied for planning permission for short-term letting since the regulations came into effect and just one had been granted.
"These figures are replicated across many cities and towns across the state," Mr Tóibín added.
"It's clear that a large chunk of the Short Term Rental market either availed of loopholes in the Fine Gael legislation or ignored it completely.
"They show that the Fine Gael legislation is failing”.