I propose to take Questions Nos. 214 and 215 together.
Under Action 18 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector published in December 2016, a Working Group was established, involving representatives of all major public stakeholders with a policy interest in short-term lettings, to consider measures aimed at facilitating the short-term letting of accommodation within permanent residences (homesharing), protecting the existing stock of residential stock in areas of high demand, providing clarity in relation to the appropriate regulatory approach - from a planning perspective - for short term tourism related lettings while also recognising the important role of short-term lettings in the provision of tourist accommodation.
Having considered the Working Group's report as well as the recommendations in the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on short-term lettings, 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 (RPZs) 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 it 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 important to note that these proposed changes will not affect the operation of holiday homes as typically understood, or longer-term flexible type lettings including lettings to those coming to Ireland under temporary employment contracts or those moving employment location and who require temporary accommodation while seeking long-term accommodation etc.
The new arrangements are being introduced through the planning code and each planning authority’s enforcement unit will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing these new requirements. Additional funding will be provided to support local authority enforcement of the new short-term letting arrangements and my Department will be engaging with the relevant local authorities in that regard.
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 addition, the necessary supporting planning regulations to further underpin the proposals are currently being finalised and details will be published in due course.