Short-term lettings and the housing crisis

Reaction to Dr Lorcan Sirr’s column

Sir, – I strongly agree with Dr Lorcan Sirr’s column “There are more than 18,000 houses to rent on Airbnb vs 2,000 on Daft. Something is very wrong,” (Opinion & Analysis, February 28th).

I reported an illegal change of use of a residential property to short-term letting with Dublin City Council’s Planning Enforcement Department in March 2023.

In June, the council upheld the complaint and instructed the owner to cease short-term letting by July.

In September, the council confirmed that the matter had been referred to its law department for legal proceedings. But, as of today, it still awaits a court date.


In the meantime, by my calculation, the property owner may have earned up to €75,000 in letting fees through Airbnb. The maximum penalty, meanwhile, for the planning breach is a €5,000 fine or up to six months’ imprisonment.

The short-term tourist letting register will be a welcome innovation, if and when it arrives, but it is vital that we accompany legislative regulation with the appropriate resourcing for its swift enforcement, and set penalties at a proportionate level to dissuade infraction. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Dr Lorcan Sirr’s recent article scraped together some figures from listings on Airbnb, and worked out that half of the 20,000 “entire space” listings could be converted to social housing for families.

Certainly there are some sharks in the water, but as a host in the minnow category, and in close contact with a network of others like me, I know that my cottage down a muddy farm track, miles from a shop, and with no public transport, is not suitable as a family home.

Granny flats and annexes, part-time holiday homes by the sea, and interesting garden structures make good use of available beds, not just for tourists, valuable though they are to local economies, but also for contract workers needing a place to stay in the short term.

Proposals from Fáilte Ireland to introduce a register for short-term rentals would be welcome were they not being driven by the Department of Housing’s agenda.

The fact that there’s a housing crisis should not be blamed on those of us who are working hard to keep a roof over our own heads by welcoming visitors to our homes.

Thanks to Airbnb, we have a safe and efficient management system, and Ireland’s tourism economy has benefited from an expanded market.

Our politicians need to look at this from every angle, and not use the over-simplified statistics provided by Dr Sirr. – Yours, etc,


Co Wexford.