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Dublin City Council is cracking down on the proliferation of short-term Airbnb-type lettings in the city, as it steps up its enforcement activity on landlords targeting the tourism market without appropriate planning permission.
According to a spokeswoman for the council, about 100 apartment owners are under investigation for inappropriate use as short-term lets.
This follows some 75 complaints being received about such usage of properties in the city centre.
Of those under investigation, the council has sent more than 50 warning letters issued under section 152 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, on the grounds that “unauthorised development” may have been, or is being, carried out on the premises.
“There have been many successes as a result of our action to date where a significant number of the cases dealt with have resulted in a cessation of the unauthorised use or else clarification that the property owners the subject of complaints were not in fact breaching planning laws,” the spokeswoman said.
Property owners need planning permission if they wish to change use of a property from residential to short-term let, and failure to do so may leave them open to enforcement action from the council. If found guilty of an offence, a summary conviction could lead to fines of €5,000 and a prison term of up to six months, while a conviction on indictment has a fine of up to €12.7 million and a prison term of up to two years.
Last month the Department of Housing issued guidelines on how councils can deal with the misuse of short-term lets but, according to the council, this has not led to any “real changes” to its enforcement section.
“We were already investigating these issues and taking appropriate action where possible,” it said.
The move comes against a background of increasing concern over the impact short-term lettings may have on the overall shortage of property in the long-term rental market. Earlier this month, we disclosed how some Airbnb operators are earning as much as ¤163,000 – per property – in annual rent from short-term lets in Dublin city centre. There are now some 7,000 properties advertised for short-term let on the property platform, while a host of other operators also offer tourist accommodation throughout the city.
And it’s a market that is still growing, with recent planning applications to Dublin City Council showing a marked increase in those looking to provide short-term accommodation – and seeking the appropriate planning to do so. Recent applications include:
– On the site of JJ Smyth’s Pub on Aungier Street, Kateo Investments is looking to build 19 short-term accommodation bedrooms in a six-storey building over basement, although the council has since requested the building is reduced by one storey.
–At the Mary Immaculate Refuge of Sinners Church in Rathmines, Carnivan Bay Hospitality, of which former Version1 chief executive Justin Keatinge is a director, is looking to convert former presbytery accommodation to eight serviced short-stay tourist suites. No decision has yet been made.
– At the Green Building in Temple Bar, Eustace Street Holdings is looking to convert the first floor from office use to four luxury short-term-let ensuite bedrooms. No decision has yet been made.
– In Dartry, south Dublin, Trinity College Dublin applied for permission to allow three blocks of its student residence be used as temporary tourist or visitor accommodation during the summer months. Permission was granted, despite objections from local residents that the area is residential, and commercial development should not be allowed.
– On the Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore, Canbe is looking to convert an existing office building to 21 short-stay tourist accommodation units.The council has sought additional information.
– At The Maieston at Santry Cross, Bremore Partnership is looking to convert a vacant ground-floor commercial unit into a three-unit, short-stay tourist accommodation suite. No decision has yet been made.
–At Henrietta Street, a change of use is being sought from multiple residential occupancy to short-term lease apartments.
– At 98-99 Francis Street, NCP Properties Ltd wanted to convert seven apartments into short-term use. Permission was refused, on the grounds that residential units are “a scarce resource”, and it would result in the loss of seven apartments for residential use.
– At 12 Leinster Street South, Dublin 2, City Break apartments applied to convert a travel agent into short-stay holiday let studios. Permission was granted.