properties advertised for short-term letting, including through online platforms, obliged to have a valid registration number as provided by Fáilte Ireland
suppliers offering accommodation for periods of up to and including 21 nights will need to be registered with Fáilte Ireland
estimated that up to 12,000 properties could come back into the long- term rental market
legislation aims to deliver on Housing for All objective to make more efficient use of existing housing
revisions to existing Fáilte Ireland registers for Hotels and Guesthouses to bring them into line with the new registration systems and updated penalties for enforcement
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, has today (Wednesday 7 December) announced that the government has approved the priority drafting of the Registration of Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill and publication of the General Scheme of the Bill.
Minister Martin was joined at today’s announcement by Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Paul Kelly, CEO, Fáilte Ireland, all of whom welcomed another important milestone in implementing the government’s Housing for All policy.
Housing for All commits to the development of new regulatory controls to ensure that houses are used to best effect in areas of high housing demand. The new register will help ensure that properties built for residential accommodation will be used for that purpose, and Failte Ireland estimate that up to 12,000 properties could come back into the long- term rental market or the residential housing market as a result.
Benefits for tourism will include helping to address the staffing challenges facing many tourism businesses as it will provide housing options to tourism and hospitality workers in these areas. The introduction of the register will also provide a level playing field for all accommodation providers by ensuring transparency and visibility across the sector. Finally, the register will allow Fáilte Ireland, for the first time, to have a full picture of the stock of tourist accommodation across the State. This will significantly enhance Fáilte Ireland’s ability to promote and drive tourism investment.
The introduction of the register will:
provide the Department of Housing and Local Authorities with an accurate register of all short-term letting stock across the country
allow Fáilte Ireland, for the first time, to have a full picture of tourist accommodation across the State, significantly enhancing their ability to promote and drive tourism investment
deliver on the Housing for All commitment to introduce new regulations in the area of short term tourist letting
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Martin said:
“As Minister for Tourism I am committed to growing the tourism sector in a sustainable manner. The measures announced today are an important step in addressing the availability of private residential rental accommodation. Housing for All includes an objective to make more efficient use of existing housing and we are aware that in some parts of the country an imbalance has emerged between the short term and long term rental markets.
“We have examined the international context and conducted significant research in this area, which has illustrated the issues caused by an imbalance in supply. These new regulatory controls will ensure balanced and sustainable tourism development. Addressing the housing challenges will also help address the staffing issues facing many tourism businesses as it will provide housing options to tourism and hospitality workers in these areas. Working with the Oireachtas I hope that the legislation will be enacted in Q1 2023.
“To minimise disruption to the tourism industry and to tourists, property owners operating within the sector that need to apply for change of use planning permission are allowed, for a time limited period of up to six months, to continue to offer their accommodation as tourist accommodation while their application is being considered. These new measures will bring our approach to regulation in line with major tourism destinations across Europe, including Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona.”
Minister O’Brien said:
“We believe there is great potential for the long-term rental market in the significant numbers of properties currently being used for short-term lettings.
"Tourism is an important part of the Irish economy but we need a balanced and appropriate mix of private rental accommodation and short-term letting accommodation in this country – a balance which fully reflects the housing needs of those who live here. Through this proposed Fáilte Ireland registration system, we will be able to ensure that a greater amount private rental accommodation will be provided – particularly in urban areas of high housing demand.
"This registration system is another element of our national Housing Strategy, Housing for All and a key piece in the jigsaw. My department and I will continue to work with the Department of Tourism to speed up the introduction of these new provisions.”
Paul Kelly, CEO, Fáilte Ireland, said:
“Fáilte Ireland is working closely with our colleagues in the Department of Tourism and the Department of Housing on the development of the Short Term Tourist Letting Registration System as outlined in the government’s Housing for All policy. As part of this work, we have conducted detailed research into the experience of cities and countries across the world and have designed a registration system which will allow property owners to quickly and easily register short term letting properties.
“As the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland is mindful of the need to balance an appropriate mix of long-term private rental and short-term letting accommodation. Fáilte Ireland will also continue to work with Local Authorities across the country to ensure any housing stock that is not suitable for private housing may continue to be used for tourism purposes. We look forward to working with the tourism industry and relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the registration.”
The main features of this Bill are:
the establishment of the new Short-Term Tourist Letting (STTL) register
revisions regarding the existing Fáilte Ireland registers (for Hotels, Guesthouses, and so on) to bring them into line with the new registration systems
the introduction of Authorised Officers to oversee adherence
a provision that any party offering accommodation for periods of up to and including 21 nights will need to be registered with Fáilte Ireland
an obligation on those advertising properties for short-term letting (including online platforms) to ensure that the properties have a valid registration number as provided by Fáilte Ireland
updated penalties for the enforcement of the registers. Fáilte Ireland may levy a €300 fixed payment notice on property owners who advertise their property without a valid FI registration number and also have the option to bring the case to the district court where the maximum fine is up to €5,000
For platforms, Fáilte Ireland can levy fines of up to €5,000 per invalid listing for advertising properties without valid Fáilte Ireland numbers.
Fáilte Ireland estimates that there are approximately 30,000 Short Term Tourist Letting (STTL) properties in the State currently being advertised online of which 20,000 are estimated to be whole houses or apartments. Given that many of these properties are likely not to have or are unlikely to be granted the required planning permission it is expected that thousands, perhaps as many as 12,000, of these properties could return to the traditional long term market.
The register is based on international examples and is consistent with the proposal recently adopted by the EU commission to enhance transparency in the field of short term accommodation rentals. The register will be enacted before the proposed EU regulation and will seek to ensure balanced development, as part of a sustainable tourism sector.
Short Term Tourist Letting registration systems have been in place in many cities across the world for a number of years, more recently countries are starting to introduce registers. In that context the European Commission has brought forward proposals for a common registration system across Europe. The Fáilte Ireland STTL register has been designed with the benefit of experiences elsewhere including Amsterdam, Scotland and Paris and also it will be compatible with the EU Commission register proposal.
Under the Planning Acts, all development, including a material change of use, unless specifically exempted under the Act or associated Regulations, requires planning permission. The move from long term rental to short term rental would be considered such a material change of use. Planning authorities can take enforcement action if a development does not have the required permission or where the terms of permission have not been met.
Authorised Officers refers to staff of Fáilte Ireland or contracted staff who will have certain enforcement powers under the proposed legislation.