'fine' mess | 

Sinn Féin bill to turn screw on short-term rentals in Airbnb crackdown

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gabija Gataveckaite

A Sinn Féin bill aims to crack down on short-term letting providers and issue on-the-spot fines.

The legislation would re- quire estate agents and online hosting platforms to check if property owners have the correct planning documents before advertising their properties on their websites.

If not, the laws would mean the platforms would be fined the amount they would earn per day from the property being rented out from their website.

It comes following an Irish Independent report that councils across the country are not clamping down on properties being let out for more than 90 days a year – longer leases that require planning permission.

The majority of counties have many more advertisements on Airbnb than they do on Daft.ie.

However, councils in only 15 counties are acting against properties that may have been let for more than 90 days.

As the housing crisis deepens, the number of properties available to rent long-term has decreased, while lucrative short-term lets have soared in popularity.

Data shows councils in 12 counties did not issue any warning letters last year and 11 did not launch any investigations into properties that may have been rented out for longer than 90 days.

“We need to crack down on the illegal short-term letting of rental homes to ensure these homes are returned to the rental system,” Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said.

“The current enforcement regime rests with the local authorities, but, unfortunately, it is very slow and many local authorities are not adequately resourced by government to enforce the regulations.

“Stricter enforcement is required, and this bill does what many of us were calling for when the regulations were first introduced.”

Mr Ó Broin said the bill, which will be launched next week, would also give the housing minister powers to impose penalties.

“The bill also allows the minister to give local authorities the power to issue spot fines to short-term lettings providers and estate agents that advertise non-compliant properties,” he said, adding that there is an “ever-dwindling” supply of affordable homes across the State.

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