In a long expected move, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, has proposed new rules regulating short term lets.

The purpose of the new rules is to reverse the proliferation of short term tourist lettings which resulted in a reduction of availability of houses and apartments which would otherwise have been available for long term rental.

Current position

Currently entire dwellings that could be used for long term rental are instead let on a short term basis to tourists, typically through Airbnb. Frequently one landlord runs several properties in this way. The short term rental to tourists of rooms in a primary residence is also commonplace. None of these activities are regulated.

Primary residence

Under the new rules, a person will only be permitted to rent their home as a short term let if it is their principal residence. An annual cap of 90 days will apply for the renting out on a short-term basis – ie for 14 days or less at a time - of a person’s entire home where it is their primary residence. Rental of rooms in a primary residence will be permitted, but home owners wishing to do this, will have to register with their local authority.

Second property

Where a person owns a second property and intends to let on a short term basis, they will need to apply for planning permission for a change of use and it will be up to each local planning authority to grant permissions, based on guidance that will issue from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. It will no longer be possible to rely on exempted development provisions to let, under short-term letting arrangements, a house or rooms in a house, that is not a person’s principal private residence

Existing holiday lets

Any short-term letting use which was established prior to these changes, and which will continue after the changes come into effect, will now be required to be notified to the relevant planning authority for monitoring and enforcement purposes, if they rely on planning permission exemptions. Any short-term letting, which is deemed by a planning authority to be a material change in use (to be decided on a case-by-case basis) and which cannot rely on the exemptions, will require planning permission. Any unauthorised development can be the subject of planning enforcement. However, if the house or apartment already has specific planning permission for use as holiday accommodation / short-term letting, they will not need to notify.

Legislation

The reforms will be introduced through amendments to the Planning Regulations 2000-2018 as well as through primary legislation. It is intended that they will come into effect on 1 June 2019.