On 1 July 2019 new planning regulations came into effect governing the use of short-term tourist related lettings such as Airbnb in areas where rent pressure zones apply.
The Regulations were introduced in an effort to ease the housing crisis by freeing up properties which are currently used for Short Term Lettings or Airbnb and introducing them back into the traditional long-term rental sector.
Short-Term Letting is defined in the Regulations as ‘the letting of a house or apartment or part of a house or apartment, for a period not exceeding 14 days’.
The Regulations introduced the requirement for planning permission in respect of short-term lettings as this is now considered a material change of use for properties which are located in high demand areas. However, where property owners do apply for planning permission it is likely that this will be refused by the Local Authority in rent pressure zones, which will effectively ban short-term lettings in these areas.
The Regulations provide exemptions to the requirement for planning permission in respect of short-term lettings where the property is the owner’s principal private residence (‘PPR’).
In particular where the property owner rents part of their PPR as a short-term let while they are still resident there, this is exempt under the Regulations and no planning permission is required.
However, where the property owner is temporarily absent from the house and they let the entire premises for short-term letting, this is considered to be an exemption only where the letting is capped at 90 days per year, with a limit of 14 days per letting. Anything in excess of this will require planning permission for change of material use of the property.
Where a person owns a second property located in a rent pressure zone and intends to let it on a short-term basis, they must retain planning permission for this property to be used for tourism or short-term letting purposes. No exemption applies in respect of the second-property and all short-term lettings require planning permission.
Property owners who are availing of short-term lettings but fall under the exemptions in the Regulations must notify their local authority using the prescribed forms. In particular where a property owner is letting part of their PPR on a short term basis or is letting their entire property for less than 90 days per year, they must indicate this to their local authority at the beginning and end of each year and provide supporting evidence as to why they are exempt from requiring planning permission under the Regulations in respect of their short-term letting arrangements.
The Planning Authorities in each functional area are now responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the new requirements. Planning Authorities can take extensive actions where there has been a material change of use of a property and where planning permission has not been retained or complied with. Non-compliance with the Regulations carries a maximum penalty of a €5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment.
If you would like more information on this topic, please contact:
Ciara McDonnell, Partner