Plans to turn Dublin apartment blocks into Airbnb-style rentals rejected

Dublin council cites housing scarcity in refusing applications

Since July 1st, owners of properties in rent pressure zones have to get planning permission to use their housing for short-term lets for more than three months every year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Since July 1st, owners of properties in rent pressure zones have to get planning permission to use their housing for short-term lets for more than three months every year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

At least a dozen property owners who have sought to convert apartment blocks to Airbnb-style holiday rentals have had their applications refused by Dublin City Council.

Since July 1st, owners of properties in rent pressure zones have to get planning permission to use their housing for short-term lets for more than three months every year. Homeowners who want to rent out a room or rent their entire home for less than three months do not need planning permission, but must register with their local authority.

However, companies and individuals who run holiday lets all year round have been applying to the council for permission since Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy last October announced plans to tighten the rules around the use of properties for short-term lets in areas of high housing demand.

The city council has in recent months refused at least a dozen applications to use apartments, which could provide long-term rental homes, for short-term lets. All of the applications were made to the council ahead of the introduction of the new rules at the beginning of this month. Most applications were made by companies. In almost all cases, the council referenced the need to preserve “residential units as a scarce resource”.

Georgian building

Earlier this year, Irish Investment Consulting sought permission to use the upper three floors of a Georgian building at 5 Aran Quay, close to the Four Courts for short-term letting. In May, the council refused permission, citing the scarcity of residential units and the precedent granting the permission could set.

In March, Friends First Life Assurance was refused permission for the temporary use of six apartments at 43-44 Clarendon Street off Grafton Street for short-term letting.

Friends First pointed out the apartments were located in the heart of the city, surrounded by hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping streets, where there was a demand for holiday rentals. However, the council again determined the development would set 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”.

Balanced development

Earlier this month, plans to use part of a house at 45 Victoria Street in Portobello for short-term letting for “a maximum of 200 letting nights a year” was rejected. The council said the loss of the permanent housing in the area for 200 nights a year was contrary to the core principles of 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 February, the council refused permission for seven apartments at 98-99 Francis Street in Dublin 8 to be used for “short-term letting for holiday and business use”. Again the council cited the scarcity of housing. The same reason was given for refusals of short-term lets of apartments on Capel Street and Amien’s Street close to Connolly Station.

As far back as October of 2018, the council refused permission for 16 apartments at 23 Harrington Street for short-term lets. At that time it was relying on guidance issued in 2017 from the Department of Housing that it “may not be appropriate” to grant permission for apartments to be used for short term lets. In its refusal the council said the development would “seriously injure the residential amenity” of the full-times residents in the rest of the building, “may result in a devaluation of the subject property” , would reduce housing stock, and set an undesirable precedent for similar developments in the area.