Sunday, 22nd April 2018
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‘Liveable places for the future’

Dear Editor,

As cities and towns across Ireland celebrated St Patrick’s Day and extended a Céad Míle Fáilte to thousands of visitors, both returning emigrants and tourists, we were reminded of the plight of many for whom a roof over their head has now become unaffordable and unattainable. Figures released in January this year reveal that there are 119 adults homeless in Waterford. There is a certain irony that families that need long-term tenancies are staying in bed and breakfast establishments, hotels and other emergency accommodation while many tourists who in the past stayed in hotels are staying in housing on a short-term let basis.

We acknowledge there is a role for Airbnb in the tourism market however, short-term let’s are displacing homes that would otherwise be available in the long-term rental market and are driving up the price of rents.

Many Airbnb properties make phenomenal profits with some ‘rentrepreneurs’ earning upwards of €100,000 a year without being registered with the Residential Tenancies Board and without being inspected by local authorities. The level of these earnings shows how lucrative the short-term market rather than the long-term rental market can be. We know that in Waterford a landlord received almost €41,500 in a year through short term letting via AirBnB.

While the country’s private rental sector experiences a historic shortage of supply, Threshold are looking for:

A moratorium on all future full-time lets in areas most affected by rental supply shortages, starting with the Rent Pressure Zones.

All full-time short let units to require planning permission. We call upon the Government to review the current planning regulations and ensure they are robust enough to achieve this.

The establishment of a local authority hotline to report full-time short lets.

Registration of all short let units which let for over 90 days in a twelve month period with local authorities.

A less stringent second level approach should be taken with those that rent their primary residence for a period of 90 days or less per year. Any policy response should also distinguish between casual hosts and professional hosts, this approach has gained favour internationally and is a sensible distinction to make. For example, similar regulations have been introduced in Berlin, and have resulted in nearly 8,000 properties being returned to the residential market. It is critical that we get the balance right. Our cities and towns have to be liveable places for the future and we cannot continue displacing our citizens beyond the city boundaries.

Sincerely

Cathy Flanagan

Communications Executive,

Threshold

21 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

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