Bord Pleanála upholds Temple Bar residents’ case against Airbnb apartment

Guidelines on dealing with Airbnb lettings are expected to be provided to local authorities

Bord Pleanála upholds Temple Bar residents’ case against Airbnb apartment

File photo: PA Images

A property company is being ordered to apply for planning permission if it is to continue letting out a Dublin city apartment to Airbnb users.

An Bord Pleanála has upheld a ruling that the short-term renting of the Temple Bar unit constitutes a change of use. This means it can be no longer exempt from planning requirements.

The initial Dublin City Council decision was made on foot of a case brought by the Temple Bar Residents Association.

The group’s chair, Frank McDonald, told Newstalk.com that it took the case earlier this year after discovering that the two-bedroom apartment had been put up for sale at €425,000.

He said this was around €150,000 higher than usual asking prices in the area, attributing the discrepancy to the property’s revenue potential.

Mr McDonald said Airbnb lettings had caused "serious disturbance" for long-term residents of Temple Bar.

He complained that a number of local properties let out through the online portal were turned into noisy party flats.

"Our primary concern is to recover the units deducted from the housing stock," he said.

Mr McDonald also hit out at Dublin City Council's response to the ruling, which the local authority insists is not site-specific.

"[The council is] putting it up to people, saying 'if you have a problem with this, take a case' - instead of them taking action," he told Newstalk.com.

He said this was in contrast to the response of local authorities in Berlin, which banned the letting of whole properties to tourists in May.

Regulations

An Bord Pleanála noted in its ruling that the use of the Crown Alley apartment for short-term holiday lettings "raises planning considerations that are materially different to the planning considerations relating to the permitted use as a residential apartment".

Neither the Planning and Development Act 2000 or the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 provide for any such exemption, it said.

The Department of Housing said Minister Simon Coveney agreed that "the area of Airbnb requires clarity from  a planning point of view".

The department will be in touch with the CEOs of local authorities on this matter, it said.

Dublin City Council said it welcomed the board's decision but would need time to review its implications. 

 
"It is important to understand that decisions made on foot of a Section 5 application are site specific and therefore any ruling does not automatically apply across the board," it said. 
 
"However, in light of the lack of clarity in relation to use of apartments as short-term holiday lets, Dublin City Council is in the process of preparing a submission to the Department of Housing seeking an amendment to the national planning legislation to provide for a clear differentiation between use as a residential apartment and use as a short-term holiday let."

In a statement following the ruling, Airbnb said: "We remind all Irish hosts to check and follow local rules before they list their space.

"This is made clear on our responsible hosting page, which contains useful information and resources on home sharing rules in Ireland."