Eoghan Murphy disputes report claiming ‘11.2% rent increase’

Minister has asked task force to examine Airbnb lettings and report by end of year

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has established a taskforce on AirBnB lettings and said it would report by the end of the year. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has established a taskforce on AirBnB lettings and said it would report by the end of the year. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images.

 

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has disputed a report by property website Daft.ie showing an 11.2 per cent increase in rents in the last 12 months.

Mr Murphy said the Government was well aware of the acute pressures in the rental market driven by rising demand, the economic recovery, a lack of supply and by the high costs that indebted landlords face in servicing their mortgages.

He said the pressures were borne out by the upward trend highlighted in the data but that “ I would dispute the reported rate of increase”.

The Minister said the website measured asking prices which tended to be higher than the rents actually being paid by tenants.

“The low number of properties being advertised on Daft.ie means that the figures are based on a relatively small sample and may not be entirely representative,” he said.

Mr Murphy was speaking in the Seanad as he opened a debate on the report by Oireachtas housing committee on the impact of short-term lettings on Ireland’s housing and rental market.

The Minister established a task force on Airbnb lettings and said it would report by the end of the year. He also pledged to provide comprehensive statistics, pointing out that “much of the evidence presented is anecdotal or based solely on opinion”.

He said Dublin City council and Fáilte Ireland were commissioning a study to assess the impact of short-term letting on Dublin’s residential housing market.

Sharing hosts

Mr Murphy said there was a difference between home sharing hosts and commercial operations. He believed in Ireland “we haven’t been affected by the same rate as other cities” and that Ireland could learn from them.

Senator Keith Swannick (Fianna Fáil ) said his party favoured a 90 night limit on short-term lets. He pointed to figures from Dublin City Council in March which showed 6,729 listings and said that 30 units in the Dublin 1 area had been lost to short-term letting in the past 18 months.

He said listings for Wednesday night showed 306 entire apartments or homes were available and that was 10 per cent of the entire listing.

He added that 2,000 had been booked already for Wednesday night and 243 listings had more than one property. He said those 243 had 913 properties between them and 15 per cent of hosts have 39 per cent of listings.

Mr Swannick accused the Government loving task forces to “kick the issue down the road”.

He said there were plenty of models to follow and he pointed to San Francisco where Airbnb is fined $1,000 if it registers a property without a permit.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (Sinn Féin ) called on the Minister to act on the 13 recommendations in the report and to bring forward the legislation to enact them.

He said rental pressure zones were not working “since they have not even managed to keep rents stable” and that rents had risen for 21 consecutive quarters.

Senator Lynn Ruane (Independent ) said there was a reversal of roles where Irish citizens were becoming homeless and staying in hotels while at the same time tourists were staying in the spare room, apartments and houses.

She said that “in the absence of data we are fumbling around in the dark”.