New Regulations on Short Term Letting
As part of the measures to help address pressures in the private housing rental market, new planning legislative reforms to regulate the short term letting sector - as provided for in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 and supplementary regulations made by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government entitled the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 came into effect on 1 July 2019.
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 recognizing 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, the Minister announced plans to regulate short-term lettings in October 2018.
The reforms, which are now underpinned in legislation, 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. Accordingly the new provisions will only apply in areas designated as “Rent Pressure Zones” under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended.
As of the 18th December 2019 all of the Sligo / Strandhill Local Electoral Area (see Map of Area below) has been designated a Rent Pressure Zone, hence short-term letting in this area is impacted by the new arrangements.
Under the new arrangements applicable in rent pressure zones:
- Short term letting is defined as the letting of a house or apartment, or part of a house or apartment, for any period not exceeding 14 days.
- Homesharing (the letting of a room or rooms in a person’s principal private residence) will continue to be permissible on an unrestricted basis and be exempted from the new planning requirements.
- Homesharers will be allowed to sub-let their entire principle private residence (house or apartment) on a short term basis for a cumulative period of 90 days where they are temporarily absent from their home.
- Where the 90 day threshold is exceeded, change of use planning permission will be required.
If you homeshare your principal private residence in a rent pressure zone and wish to avail of the new planning exemptions, you will need to register this with your local authority and fulfil specified reporting obligations:
- ‘Form 15’ should be completed at the start of the year
- ‘Form 16’ should be completed when the 90 cap has been reached
- ‘Form 17’ should be completed at the end of each year.
However, where a person owns a property in a rent pressure zone which is not their principal private residence and intends to let it for short-term letting purposes, s/he will 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.
A ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document has been prepared to assist in understanding the new short term letting reforms and the reporting obligations on homesharers.