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Tourists stay in private homes while homeless stay in hotels this St Patrick’s Day

15 March 2019

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Threshold demands action on dysfunctional holiday letting market

The thousands of properties which will be filled on a very short-term basis in Ireland over the St Patrick’s Day period would make a significant contribution to dealing with Ireland’s housing crisis if they were made available for long term rental, according to the national housing charity Threshold.

“Short-term letting, via Airbnb and other operations, is making thousands of homes unavailable while at the same time many homeless are living in temporary accommodation”, according to John Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive of Threshold.  “The extreme irony here is that we have tourists who typically go to hotels staying in family homes and apartments, while the homeless who should be in houses and apartments living in hotels.”

This week there are 5,762 Airbnb listings in Dublin, with 41% of these available as full-time holiday rentals.  60% of all listings were entire homes available to let, meaning that 3,476 housing units are permanently removed from capital’s housing stock. Meanwhile in Galway there are 2,452 Airbnb listings this week, and in Cork there are 2,103.  Half of these are available as holiday rentals on a full-time basis.

“The number of people who can be accommodated in Airbnb properties far exceeds the current 9,987 homeless figure. While tourists are always welcome and Airbnb has a role to play in the tourist market, this volume of short-term lets is taking units that would otherwise be available for long-term rent out of that market,” according to Mr McCafferty.

According to the chairperson of Threshold Aideen Hayden: “There are regulations in this area due to come into effect on June 1st and the Minister still has not published them.  We call on him to do so without delay.  We still don’t know what resources will be given to local authorities to allow them to enforce these regulations.  The number of units that could potentially be freed up to deal with the housing shortage is large, and this reflects a shortage of affordable homes not just in Ireland but in Europe generally.  We call on the Minister to act immediately.”