Brussels needs clarity on proposed Local Accommodation Laws

Mizen Head-

  EU TRIS Gives Protection to STR in Member States

The Irish Self-Catering Federation has questioned the Irish Government Legislation on STR at the EU level by taking comments to TRIS (Technical Regulation Information System).  These cases are now being discussed in other European countries, in relation to Short-Term Rental (STR) regulation.
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Mount Congreve Garden, Waterford

How Did TRIS Effect Irish Legislation Implementation

The Irish Legislation that the ISCF questioned to TRIS was as follows:-

  1. The Planning and Development Bill no 2 2022 was introduced in July 2022 by the Minister for Housing. The ISCF objected to the bill as it had not been presented to TRIS at the EU level to see if it met all EU Legislation. The Irish Government withdrew the bill on  23/10 with little fuss or media coverage. The ISCF  welcomed the withdrawal of the Bill.
  2. In December 2022 the Irish Government issued the Registration for STTL Bill 2022. This bill was sent to the EU TRIS notification system to confirm it met all EU
    Register for STR

    Stay in One of Ireland’s picturesque villages

    requirements. The ISCF welcomed a Register for STR, as we had called for a Registration system for years. However, this bill stated that all STR would have to have planning permission as STR Accommodation within 6 months of the bill becoming law. As there are outstanding issues with the lack of Guidelines for STR in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) and serious delays in granting planning permission, and high associated costs for SME businesses, we objected to TRIS. In March 2023 the EU stated that the Irish Government had to defer the Register for STR until 22/12/23



Why EU  Paused the Register for STR

The EU TRIS notification did 3 actions in relation to the Registration for STTL Bill as proposed by the Irish Government.

1.  TRIS made Comments – that the Irish Government has to take on board.

2.  TRIS Stated that some parts of the Irish legislation as proposed did not meet EU Law.

3. TRIS stated that the Registration for STTL Bill as proposed was  “disproportionately restrictive and capable of negatively affecting the tourist offer, especially in coastal and rural areas.

The Irish Government announced that 12,000 houses would be returned to the long-term rental market. This figure was ‘calculated on the back of the envelope’ as quoted by a government official at a Joint Oireachtas Tourism Committee meeting, It also showed no respect for SME Self-catering owners, and have a devastating effect on rural business. The EU  TRIS report stated the legislation was  ‘without guarantees that they would increase the number of houses available for rent’.

Holiday Village Kerry

Holiday Cottages in Ballybunion, Kerry.

 It was with this verdict that the European Commission blocked Ireland’s plans to tighten the Local Accommodation (AL) rules, in a legislative package that the Dublin government wanted to start executing in March, as a way to put more houses on the rental market.

Brussels considers that Ireland “did not present information and sustained evidence” that these measures would be essential to respond to the housing crisis and promote the transfer of up to 12,000  homes from the AL to long-term lease, failing still in the “presentation of an alternative package, more lenient, that could pursue the proposed objective”. Emphasizing disproportionalities such as the “geographical non-containment” of the proposals to more densely populated areas – “where there will be a greater probability that the AL will have an effect on rental prices” -, the Irish plan is now subject to an analysis period that the freezes until the end of the year.

Holiday Home Kerry

Stay in a luxury farmhouse accommodation in Kerry

In Ireland, the legislation was viewed as using a hammer to crack a nut and would have a devastating effect on the rural and coastal tourism economy. Some county Councils in Ireland were more enthusiastic than others at trying to enforce existing STR legislation, going door to door in search of owners. 

Elena Fitzgerald Chair of ITIC stated at an Oireachtas Tourism Committee meeting on  03/05/2023, that “ due to the extreme pressure on all tourism accommodation, due to Government contracts taking over 37%.   The whole urban versus rural aspect of it must be addressed. We must be very mindful of that. I have heard of letters being sent to people. A few cases came up in County Kerry in particular as part of the previous committee meeting.

Holiday Homes Ireland

Fainningstown Castle, Adare, Limerick

Portuguese Legislation

The Portuguese Government introduced a Register for STR 5 years ago, which was very successful with a 98% acceptance rate. However, there has been recent legislation called the Mais Habitação package, which has not been presented to TRIS for its review, and is causing a lot of confusion in the STR sector in Portugal. Articles 49 and 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union require such restrictions to be appropriate, necessary, and proportionate to protect the public interest.    At the moment The EU Commission says that it awaits information from the Portuguese Government, which has not submitted the legislation to the EU TRIS System.  As we saw in Ireland, trying to bring legislation in a member state, without undergoing legislative scrutiny at TRIS at the EU level, causes fines and is not accepted for EU member states. Portuguese MEP   has called for clarity on Portugals’ proposed changes in legislation.  The European Commission is clear when it states that measures that affect the Single Market can only be adopted if they unequivocally solve a problem of public interest and, even so, are not disproportionate.

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Ireland’s quiet sandy beaches for family holidays

A claim that had already been addressed to the European institutions by the Associação do Alojamento Local in Portugal (ALEP). Also in March 2023, the president of ALEP, Eduardo Miranda, had a series of meetings in Brussels, including with those MEPs, warning of “measures that create blind and disproportionate situations that will clash with European legislation”, namely creating barriers ” to the development of business activities and entrepreneurship”, protected by that Directive.


Legislation Changes for STR in Europe

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Luxury House in Kerry

At the Short Stay Summit in London in April the legislative proposals for England, Scotland, and Wales were discussed with the EHHA, the OTA’s, and other EU countries. Maire ni Mhurchu Chair of ISCF stated that ‘the protection of the EU is a great help to individual countries where SME’s self-catering owners are fighting for the right to continue in business’ The Paused legislation for STR in Ireland gives time to clarify for Owners of STR properties, planners and local authorities on what needs planning permission, and what is permitted within the RPZ areas.

Wild Atlantic Way. -

Private house in West Cork on Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland has a severe housing crisis, over 37% of the registered hotel sector has gone to Government contracts, a serious dereliction issue with older properties. Yet the self-catering sector, mostly SME properties were seen as the quick solution. Most have been closed in urban areas, and at the same time, international businesses are building Aparthotels in Dublin.  The Irish Self-Catering Federation calls for  Clear Guidelines as soon as possible for urban areas where Rent Pressure Zone regulations are in place and separate regulations for rural and coastal areas.


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Glendalough, Monastic site in Irelands Ancient East.


In Ireland, the Irish Self-Catering Federation had meetings with Government Departments to progress legislation.

At a meeting with the  Department of Housing on 25/04 Clear Guidelines for STR were discussed and we look forward to the outline of the Bill and Guidelines being presented to the Oireachtas.

On 2/05/2023 a meeting between the negotiation board of the ISCF and Minster Catherine Martin Minister for  Tourism and staff to discuss the importance of a Register for STR. Speedy planning clarity for the sector allows the Guidelines for Planners, Local Authorities, and owners of STR to be brought before the Dáil. This needs to be in place as early as possible so the sectors can plan for the 2024 season.  We need a balanced tourism offering in Ireland where all types of accommodation should be available, giving value and quality to all guests in Ireland. Rural Ireland is economically dependent on the income from tourism in all its forms and self-catering is an essential option for families and groups.

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Visit St Johns Castle on the bank of Shannon, Limerick

Own a Self-Catering property or want to set up a business – Contact the ISCF for more Details or for Membership.