Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (54)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

54. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will reconsider his opposition to placing an obligation on platforms and letting agents to ensure all properties are complaint with new planning regulations in view of the low level of compliance with short-term letting regulations. [45236/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

`I am not opposed to there being an obligation on short-term letting platforms and letting agents to ensure all properties are compliant with new planning regulations. However, as the Deputy is well aware, responsibility for tourism rests with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. My responsibility insofar as housing and planning matters are concerned is to ensure that our housing stock is used in the most appropriate manner.

New planning legislative reforms to regulate the short term letting sector - as provided for in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 and supplementary regulations which I made entitled the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 - came into effect on 1 July 2019.

The primary objective of the legislative changes is aimed at regulating short-term letting through the planning code in the context of its impact on the supply of private rented accommodation particularly in urban centres of high housing demand i.e. rent pressure zones. The planning system facilitates the regulation of such short-term letting uses undertaken by the individual carrying out the activity, i.e. the owner/occupier of the house or apartment, rather than the online platforms. It is worth pointing out that these new planning laws go further than what was proposed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government when it considered this matter. In fact, they go further than similar laws in most comparable jurisdictions.  

The broader regulation of tourism activity, including the possible development of a new regulatory or licensing/ registration system for commercial platforms and short-term letting agents - as recommended in the final Working Group report on the regulation of short-term lettings - is beyond the scope of the planning code and my remit. However, I have written to my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, outlining the recommendations made by the Working Group and highlighting the measures taken by my Department to act upon these recommendations, specifically the introduction of the short-term letting legislation. I advised the Minister that the remaining recommendations of the Working Group fell under the remit of his Department to action, and assured him of my support, and that of my Department, in addressing these outstanding recommendations.

The new planning related arrangements in relation to short-term letting are in their early stages, having only commenced with effect from 1 July last. It is expected that the level of registrations of home-sharing activity will increase over the coming months as word of the new arrangements spreads and as local authority enforcement of the arrangements is stepped up.

Further detailed information on the new arrangements can be obtained at the following weblink:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/planning/private-rented-housing/new-regulation-short-term-letting.