Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (656)

Catherine Connolly


656. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for regulations under section 38 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21590/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In late 2018, I announced plans to regulate short term lettings. As the proposals are primarily aimed at addressing the impact on the private rental market by the use of residential homes for short term tourism type letting, in areas of high housing demand, it is intended that the new provisions will only apply in areas designated as rent pressure zones under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.

Under the proposed new arrangements, homesharing will continue to be permissible for a person’s primary residence on an unrestricted basis. In addition, an annual cap of 90 days will apply for the renting out on a short-term basis of a person's entire home where it is their primary residence, with such short-term lets being restricted to periods of 14 days or less at a time. Where the 90 day threshold is exceeded, change of use planning permission will be required.

Furthermore, where a person owns a property that is not their principal private residence and intends to let it for short-term letting purposes, they will also be required to apply for a change of use planning permission unless the property already has a specific planning permission to be used for tourism or short-term letting purposes. It will be up to each local planning authority to consider such applications, having regard to guidance that will issue from my Department, taking account of housing demand pressures in the area concerned and other relevant factors such as cumulative impacts.

It is intended that the proposed planning reforms will come into effect on 1 July 2019 and the  primary legislative provisions required to underpin the proposals are currently progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas through the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2018.   In this regard, section 38 of the Bill proposes to insert a new section 3A into the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the 2000 Act), to provide that the short-term letting of a house in a rent pressure zone is a material change of use of the house, thereby requiring planning permission, unless otherwise specifically exempted from this requirement.   It sets out the necessary definitions for both short-term letting and rent pressures zones. In addition, it provides me, as Minister, with specific regulation making powers that will enable planning authorities to require persons involved in short-term letting in rent pressure zones to provide specified information to their local planning authority.

The primary regulations to underpin these proposals will be regulations to be made under section 4 of the 2000 Act providing for the necessary exempted development provisions, as outlined, which will shortly be laid in draft form before the Houses of the Oireachtas and require a positive resolution from both Houses before they can be made.   As indicated, supplementary regulations to be made under the proposed new section 3A of the 2000 Act will require such persons as are specified to provide specified information to the relevant planning authority for monitoring and enforcement purposes.