Dublin council investigates illegal lets to tourists

Authority is looking into 40 complaints of properties being used for unlawful rentals

Dublin City Council is currently investigating 40 complaints about properties being used illegally as short-term lets for visitors. File photograph: Getty Images

Dublin City Council is currently investigating 40 complaints about properties being used illegally as short-term lets for visitors. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Dublin City Council is currently investigating 40 complaints about properties being used illegally as short-term lets for visitors.

The council’s planning enforcement department has issued warning letters regarding a number of properties, mostly apartments, which are possibly being used for short-term rental without planning permission.

“A number of warning letters and enforcement notices under the enforcement provisions contained in the Planning and Development Act 2000 have been issued to date,” a spokeswoman for the council said.

“A number of properties we had received complaints about, and issued warning letters to, have ceased the use for short-term holiday lets.”

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said he will be introducing a new licensing system for short-term lettings.

Numerous complaints

One woman, who spoke to The Irish Times but does not wish to be named, said she has made numerous complaints to the city council after she noticed reception staff from a nearby hotel leading guests into an apartment in the block in which she lives in the city centre. She also saw housekeeping staff servicing some apartments.

“It’s a year-round activity for at least three years. I’m just about to report my ninth case – the ninth individual apartment number that we have identified as being let out to tourists, to Dublin City Council.

“What one of my neighbours and I have taken to doing recently is walking around the block and literally knocking on apartment doors and going, ‘Hi, do you know of any holiday or any short term lets in this block?’

“And people will either tell us ‘Yes, down the corridor is a holiday let’ or sometimes the tourists themselves open the doors and go, ‘Well actually we’re tourists and we booked through ... [the hotel].”

‘Not taking action’

The woman said she believes there is “absolutely” an arrangement between two local hotels and some landlords who own apartments in the development. She said she has approached the company who manage the apartment development but they are “not taking action”.

“The apartment next door to me is a one-bedroom apartment and typically there are four guests in there,” she said.

“I mean, that could be let in the summer, it could be let every night, the guests could be changing every two or three nights – so it’s a huge churn.

“This leads to issues with security, noise and other antisocial behaviour, as well as huge wear-and-tear on common areas, insurance implications and so on.”

Housing crisis

The woman added that “these apartments are being taken out of the supply of residential homes, which is not right given the housing crisis”.

Dublin City Council said it does not comment on individual cases.

The Department of Housing has established a working group under the Strategy for the Rental Sector to look at short-term letting. The group will report to the Minister in the coming weeks on the “appropriate regulatory approach” for short-term tourism-related lettings, including Airbnb-type lettings.

A spokesman for the department said: “The proposals under consideration aim to facilitate the short-term letting of accommodation within permanent residencies – home-sharing – while protecting the existing stock of residential property in areas of high demand, safeguarding neighbourhood amenity and consumer protection and generating revenue to address negative externalities of short-term letting.”