Ban on use of Dublin buildings for Airbnb-style lets is overturned

An Bord Pleanála rules council should have granted permission for Abbey Street venture

An Bord Pleanála has ruled that permission should have been given for the buildings at 60 and 61 Middle Abbey Street to be used for short-term holiday lettings.

An Bord Pleanála has ruled that permission should have been given for the buildings at 60 and 61 Middle Abbey Street to be used for short-term holiday lettings.

 

A decision to refuse permission to convert a Dublin city centre office building into Airbnb-style apartments has been overturned by An Bord Pleanála.

In the first decision of its kind, the board ruled that Dublin City Council should have granted permission for the buildings at 60 and 61 Middle Abbey Street to be used for short-term holiday letting.

Owners of properties in rent pressure zones have since July 1st had to get planning permission to use their apartment or house for short-term lets for more than three months a 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.

The city council has since July refused several applications to use apartments, which could provide long-term rental homes, for short-term lets. Four of these refusals have to date been appealed to the board.

While decisions are pending in relation to three of these cases, the board has overturned the council’s decision in relation to Abbey Street.

Collen Assets Trading wanted to convert the upper three floors of offices at 60 and 61 Middle Abbey Street into nine apartments for use as short-term rentals.

Arnotts

The two buildings, along the Red Luas line, are beside Tour America travel agency and close to the back entrance of Arnotts department store. A tailor’s service has most recently operated on the upper floor of one of the buildings, with JJ Lalor’s printers having last year vacated the ground floor of both buildings. However, most of the property has been empty or used for storage for several years.

A previous owner was granted permission in 2015 to substantially demolish the buildings, parts of which date from the 18th century, and replace them with a six-storey office block. However, the development never went ahead.

The council had said the building was in a rent pressure zone and the applicant “did not provide a justification for not providing long-term residential accommodation at this location”.

The building’s conversion to short-term letting would result, in an “unwanted precedent for similar type development which may then result in the further unacceptable loss of potential existing long-term residential rental properties in the locality”.

‘Noise nuisance’

In its appeal to the board, Collen Assets pointed out the property was not in residential use and therefore “housing would not be lost as a result of the proposed development”.

Other apartments on Abbey Street were being used for short-term letting, and this would be “a more pragmatic use” given the “noise nuisance” from a nearby night club and the Luas line, the company said.

The board’s inspector said the development “would not set precedent for the loss of long-term housing in the inner city area, given the fact that office space would solely be replaced”.

The proposal “does not in itself result in a reduced residential housing stock, nor would it restrict the potential for the site to be used for same in the future,” he said.