Airbnb and rental accommodation
Sir, – I am amazed that The Irish Times has seen fit to carry a large piece of Airbnb propaganda in the form of an article written by Aisling Hassell, Airbnb Dublin site-lead and vice-president of community support (“Airbnb in Ireland: Rental rules welcome but red tape must not restrict homeowners”, Opinion & Analysis, May 8th).
According to Ms Hassell, “Airbnb is built on the principles of making communities stronger and spreading tourism benefits to families and businesses”. That’s funny. I thought Airbnb was a business focused on growth and making a profit. I didn’t realise it was so altruistic.
“Home-sharing”, where a room in a house or apartment is let out, is fine, but study after study around the world has shown that letting out whole residential units as short lets, especially where there is a housing shortage, prevents people from finding long-term accommodation.
Every apartment or house taken out of the long-term market in favour of short lets is a home no longer available to people who live and work in Dublin. Fewer houses and apartments available for long-term rent mean rents go up on the ones left in the long-term market.
That’s not to mention the sometimes anti-social behaviour when large numbers of people cram into an Airbnb-type letting and let rip without regard for the neighbours who actually live there.
The forthcoming regulations are designed to allow home-sharing but restrain the letting of whole homes as holiday lets especially on a full-time basis.
Far from “rushed”, as Ms Hassell describes them, they have been in the pipeline for a couple of years and some might say have been seriously delayed and don’t go far enough.
If Airbnb is seriously intent on making communities stronger then I suggest it harks back to the Airbnb creation myth of the two students renting out airbeds in their apartment and desist from featuring whole residential lets, except where that is suitable, such as, very often, in small towns and rural areas.
Airbnb is a business and businesses exist to make profits. Airbnb is entitled to fight its corner but please spare us the sanctimonious cant. – Yours, etc,