The Government has approved moves to strengthen regulatory controls on the short-term letting of property.
These controls will apply to non-principal private residences in rent pressure zones and are due to come into effect in September.
The amendment, if enacted, will mean that from 1 September online platforms will not be able to advertise properties in rent pressure zones which do not have the required planning permission.
Currently, a person must apply to their local authority for planning permission to change the use of a property so that it can be used for short-term letting.
This applies to people letting out their home for more than 90 days or those choosing to use a second property for short-term letting.
Under the new controls, non-compliance would be an offence for both the individual property owners concerned and the online platforms.
In a statement, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said these new controls would strengthen the regulations which are in place and ensure that homes are used to the best effect in areas of acute housing need.
These regulatory controls are set to be in place for a period of six months initially, during which time the Department of Tourism and Fáilte Ireland will establish a new register for short-term lets.
The CEO of the housing advice organisation, Threshold, said that the change to short-term lettings is welcome but similar legislation already in place did not work.
John Mark McCafferty said the changes to hold the platforms accountable, as well as those who are hosting, are important as Ireland has “an abject lack of supply in the private rental sector.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the housing shortage is not all caused by short-term lets, but the rise and the provision of short lets over sustained periods of time where houses and apartments are empty in terms of long-term letting is having an impact on the supply of potential rental accommodation.
He said people have fewer options for accommodation now compared to five years ago
“It’s quite a dire situation right now where renting families and individuals who are faced with a notice of termination have so few options.”
Mr McCafferty said Threshold believes that if a section of housing is freed up through this legislation it will have an impact.
“I think the key here is that it’s policed.
“…both the hosts need to be held to account and the platforms where the hosts are advertising their properties, they have to be held to account. And responded to quickly, and if they do that, and if there is a change in behaviour, we will see some of those short-term lets emerging in the long-term rental market. “