‘Meaningful legislation’ needed as Cork rental houses left ‘idle’ for eight months a year

Housing charity Threshold said multiple cases had been discovered throughout the State, including in Cork, of landlords leasing out appropriate long-term rental properties as short-term stays for holidaymakers, in many cases gaining a far greater income
‘Meaningful legislation’ needed as Cork rental houses left ‘idle’ for eight months a year

Threshold’s research shows that in December 2021 there were 1,247 short-term listings in Cork, 782 of which were entire properties. However, on March 16 only 73 entire properties were available for long-term rent in the entire county, with just 36 costing €1,500 or less per month.

SHORT-TERM rental properties are on the rise and far outnumber suitable long-term options for private rental tenants in Cork and across the country.

Housing charity Threshold said multiple cases had been discovered throughout the State, including in Cork, of landlords leasing out appropriate long-term rental properties as short-term stays for holidaymakers, in many cases gaining a far greater income.

Threshold’s research shows that in December 2021 there were 1,247 short-term listings in Cork, 782 of which were entire properties. However, on March 16 only 73 entire properties were available for long-term rent in the entire county, with just 36 costing €1,500 or less per month.

Regulations introduced in July 2019 require homeowners in rent pressure zones (RPZs) to apply to their local authority for planning permission to change property use to short-term lettings, where these types of lettings exceed 90 days in the year.

All of Cork City, Ballincollig, Carrigaline, Fermoy, Midleton, Macroom, Cobh, Mallow, Bandon, and Kinsale are designated RPZs.

Threshold noted that, while there are many long-standing holiday homes registered with Fáilte Ireland in Cork, multiple homes suitable for long-term tenants are being leased out for short stays.

In one example, a landlord advertised just under 10 properties in Cork City as short-term lets. One central, one-bed apartment cost €250 for a minimum two-night stay.

For a one-bed long-term rental apartment in the same area, the cheapest property cost €1,201 per month.

Threshold regional services manager for Cork Edel Conlon said: “There is a troubling issue of appropriate housing being used for short-term letting, which is a large factor in tenants struggling to find alternative accommodation. Enforcing change of property use regulations in a better manner would certainly aid in combatting this problem and bringing appropriate long-term rental accommodation back to the market.”

Cork senator Tim Lombard said self-regulation of the rental market had failed and it was time for the introduction of “meaningful legislation” with “real teeth”.

“You’re seeing houses that were built for residential purposes being used for commercial purposes, with no benefit to the State,” he said.

“People are buying clusters of houses, letting them out for four months of the year and leaving them idle for eight.

“We need meaningful legislation, because self-regulation has not worked, and we need to give real teeth in law so we can halt this epidemic of residential houses being abused for little more than profiteering.”

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