Airbnb lettings draw council to investigate

by Sylvia Pownall

FINGAL County Council is investigating three separate complaints about property owners using their houses for short-term lettings on Airbnb.
Enforcement action is now under way against the owner of a house in Warren Manor in Malahide who is understood to own several other properties.
Residents of the estate complained that the house was being used solely for short-term lettings without having the appropriate bed and breakfast planning permission.
The council confirmed it had issued a number of letters concerning the issue and expects progress in “the coming days”.
A first warning letter – later returned by An Post – was issued to the registered owner in January under Section 152 of the Planning and Development Act on foot of a complaint on January 18.
A further warning letter was sent out on February 17 and in March the local authority received a submission from an architect on behalf of the owner.
Planning permission is required for any residence where four or more rooms are operated as guest rooms.
A council spokesperson said: “This is an active ongoing investigation and proper due process must be observed.
“It is anticipated that there will be progress in this regard in the coming days.”
Senator Kevin Humphries (Lab) welcomed the move and called on the new Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to tighten legislation and ensure local authorities enforce planning laws.
He said: “I have been campaigning for a year now for a crackdown on the illegal full-time, short-term rental of properties without appropriate planning permission through Airbnb and the other 15 rental platforms operating in Dublin.
“We are in the crazy situation in Dublin where homes are being used as hotels without planning permission, while hotels are used as homes for families forced out of the rental market.”
Last year, then Housing Minister Simon Coveney said there was a lack of clarity around the role Airbnb plays in the property market.
He was speaking after An Bord Pleanala upheld a Dublin City Council decision that a two-bed property in Temple Bar had undergone a material change of use due to its Airbnb activity and it was therefore not exempt from planning regulations.

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