New Bill for STR Rental in Ireland
The Irish Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh o Brien introduced a Planning and Development Bill (no 2) 2022. This bill states that a person who rents a house as a Short Term Rental ( STR) must apply to their local authority for planning permission to change the use of the property, so it can be used for tourism and short-term letting purposes. Online platforms, such as Airbnb, will not be able to advertise properties in rent pressure zones without required planning permission that permits the property to be used for short-term letting. The controls will apply to non-principal private residences in rent pressure zones and are to come into effect in September
The Tourism Traffic Act 1939 deals with the Management of Tourism in Ireland and was used to set up Failte Ireland and was updated in the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003. Self-Catering and other Short Term Rental is not specifically referenced and the new legislation on the STR Register is due in September 2022. As a result of the lack of legislation on housing online platforms, such as Airbnb, Booking. com was able to enter the Irish Market from 2011 onwards and advertises properties without planning permission to be used for short-term letting. From September these online platforms will not be able to advertise properties in rent pressure zones without required planning permission that permits the property to be used for short-term letting. The controls will apply to non-principal private residences in rent pressure zones and are to come into effect in September
What are RPZs?
In 2018 the Minister for Housing identified the lack of control of Short Term Tourism Accommodation and arbitrarily brought in the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Expected Development no 2 Regulations 2019) which introduced the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ). Under the Planning and Development Act 2000 planning authorities can take legal action if a property does not have the required permission. Minister Darragh O’Brien stated that the proposed controls would be in place for an initial six-month period, during which the Department of Tourism and Fáilte Ireland will set up a new registration system for short-term rentals
How many RPZ areas are there in Ireland? Rent Pressure zones are areas of Ireland where the Government has decided that no short-term rental can take place without planning permission. If a person has a self-catering apartment or house for rent in an area that is designated a Rent Pressure Zone ( RPZ) they can no longer trade. The Rent Pressure Zones were brought in by the Irish Government in 2017, listing electoral areas where such accommodation could not take place. As a result, there is a lack of short-term holiday accommodation in many areas of Ireland, with Killarney and Kinsale added to the list of RPZ areas in 2020. The RPZ areas started out with 5 areas in 2017 and now 50 local mostly urban areas are in RPZ zones including Killarney and Kinsale – both important tourism destinations
This has lead to a lack of choice in Dublin and other RPZ areas for Self-Catering Accommodation at a reasonable rate. The rate per night per person in a quick survey of some self-Catering owners had a rate of €20 to €55 per person per night. Most Self-Catering will only allow for a minimum stay of 3 nights up to 3 weeks, usually with a discount on weekly stays which represents great value.
The Law Society of Ireland view is that under the Planning and Development Act 2000 planning authorities can take legal action if a property does not have the required permission.
What the ISCF Wants
Minister O’Brien, when interviewed on the introduction of the new regulatory controls on 11/07/2022 said that there were 20,000 short-term let properties available implying that these could sort out the housing crisis. The housing crisis had little relation to the housing crisis. Most Self-Catering owners are SME business owners, and we would welcome clear details on the number of STR properties available in Ireland. We represent over 6000 properties in Ireland and welcome new members and clear statistics on the benefit of STR to rural Ireland’s economy.
The ISCF has met with the Dept Housing and asked for Clear Guidelines for RPZ so owners can see how they can get planning permission for SC properties in RPZ zones, the present legislation looks like a blunt instrument. For example, an ISCF member 11km outside Killarney, offering Self-Catering in the middle of the farm, at very reasonable family rates applied and was turned down for planning permission. If an owner applies for planning permission and the council rejects permission which is happening to many SME Self-Catering owners, you have to close down your business. If you do not apply and go to Court giving details of how long you are in business you stand a better chance of getting a fair hearing. This should not be the legal case.
- The Dept of Tourism and Failte Ireland are working on a Register for Self-Catering, which will be introduced before the end of this year. This would allow all STR properties to register. Why add additional regulation to housing now – as the Tourism offering will be clear by the end of 2022
- The RPZ is a blunt instrument that does not discriminate between rural and urban areas, and if you have your STR business in an electoral area, then the law is applied to you.
- The Planners in Dublin have given STR permission for apartment blocks to large companies but not the SME owners. We have asked the Dept of Housing for clear details on who does have planning permission in the Dublin area for SMEs – as this information is very difficult to find.
- There need to be clear Guidelines for STR Planning Application published, so that the SME owners and Planning officers have a clear understanding of what is allowed, and therefore owners will be unafraid to apply for planning permission.
- Request for Planning applied for in tourism areas has been denied for almost all SME Self-Catering property owners in RPZ areas. This in turn engenders fear of loss of income and lack of engagement with local County Planners.
- The cost of urban accommodation has increased greatly since the RPZ legislation has been introduced in urban areas of Ireland, partially due to a lack of this reasonably priced accommodation.
- The Self-Catering owner is an SME business , small or large. They are not holiday homes but clear businesses supporting a family income. They are not the cause of the housing crisis and many are not suited to a long-term rental due to size or site.
The ISCF is in talks with Failte Ireland and the Dept of Tourism who are developing a Register for Short Term Rental (STR) which will be in place by the end of 2022. The ISCF has called for a register for many years and will do all it can to support the development of a register. All ISCF Members are held in detail by the ISCF and forwarded to Failte Ireland every 6 months. We have asked that all ISCF Members who have the ISCF Quality Assurance or the Failte Ireland standards be automatically allowed to be on an STR Register.
Contact the ISCF
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information or details of membership of the Irish Self-Catering Federation in anticipation of a Register for Short-term Rental Accommodation in Ireland. All member’s properties can be listed on LetsGoSelfCatering.ie for direct booking with owners.