Friends First bid to use Dublin apartments for short-term lets fails

Temporary use of six apartments near Grafton Street for short-term letting denied

Tourists on the move in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission to Friends First Life Assurance DAC for the temporary use of six apartments at 43-44 Clarendon Street, off Grafton Street, for short-term letting.

Friends First said it had discerned a demand for short-term letting of the apartments as they are located in the heart of Dublin city, surrounded by hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping streets.

However, the board refused the application, stating that permission would be contrary to the city development plan, which recognises residential units as a scarce resource that needs to be managed in a sustainable manner so that the housing needs of the city are met.

In addition, it stated that the temporary loss of six apartment units would be contrary to the Dublin Housing Strategy, which requires that the planning and building of housing and residential space in the city contributes to sustainable and balanced development.


In its appeal, Friends First Life Assurance criticised the failure to regularise under the planning code any system for landlords for Airbnb-style lettings.

‘Unwanted precedent’

Friends First told An Bord Pleanála that “it is compelled to make this appeal for reason of the apparent absence of any method to regularise, under planning statutes, a short tenure of rental for houses and apartments”.

The investment group argued that putting the possibility of regularised short-term letting beyond the reach of all landlords defeats objectives to encourage short-term business or leisure visitors to Dublin.

However, a senior planning inspector with the board, Jane Dennehy, recommended that the city council decision be upheld as the temporary loss of the six apartments in the rent pressure zone would exacerbate the existing shortage of residential accommodation in Dublin.

The council had refused planning permission earlier this year after its planner stated that permission would result “in an unwanted precedent for similar development in the area, which may then result in the further unacceptable loss of long-term residential rental properties in the locality”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times