Airbnb requires greater regulation, Dublin City Council told

Accommodation service had 6,729 listings in Dublin last month, council committee hears

Airbnb currently operates without any regulations in the Republic despite generating more than €25 million annually for hosts in Dublin alone, with tourists using the service spending almost 10 times that amount, Dublin City Council’s housing committee has heard.

The monthly meeting of the committee on Friday was told that last month there were 6,729 Airbnb listings in Dublin, with the vast majority in the Dublin City Council area.

Of that total, almost 2,700 listings were for entire homes, while 4,000 were for rooms in accommodation shared by the hosts.

The estimated occupancy rate was 29 per cent, with the average price charged per night per listing standing at €108. The estimated monthly income per listing was said to be €857.

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Greater oversight

After the presentation by Dr Dáithí Downey, head of policy, research and development at the council’s housing and community services division, councillors said that while they supported the idea of Airbnb and recognised the positive impact it has had on the tourist landscape for visitors and hosts, greater oversight of the platform was needed.

The chairman of the committee, Dáithí Doolan of Sinn Féin, expressed concern at the absence of regulation in the burgeoning sector.

He said the next step would be to seek input from the council’s planning and development committees in order to a develop a framework “to protect both Airbnb hosts and visitors” and to ensure Airbnb’s popularity did not negatively feed into the housing crisis.

“We need to work together on this,” he said. “The report has done a lot of the heavy lifting and answered questions about how unregulated the system is and how popular it is. We are not against Airbnb. It does serve a purpose and long may it prosper but in a more regulated form.

Fine Gael councillor Norma Sammon echoed the chairman's call for regulations and called for Airbnb to be part of the process.

People Before Profit councillor Tina MacVeigh also expressed concern about “taking homes out of the system in the context of the housing crisis” although she added that until supply issues were addressed in a more coherent fashion by the State, problems would persist

A set of recommendations on how the council should proceed is not likely until the autumn at the earliest.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor