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Dublin City Council rejects rental planning permission

Ireland: Dublin City Council has rejected a planning permission proposal by property owners to change the use of their properties to Airbnb-style lettings in the city centre.

It followed the news that the council had refused planning permission to Friends First Life Assurance DAC for the temporary use of six apartments at 43-44 Clarendon Street on Grafton Street for short-term letting.

Friends First stated there was significant demand for short-term letting of the apartments as the properties are located centrally in the city and are surrounded by hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping streets.

However, the city council planning report said that planning permission would result in an “unwanted precedent for similar development in the area which may then result in the further unacceptable loss of long term residential rental properties in the locality”.

The report stated that there were “serious reservations” over the planning application and that there was a need to balance the competing demands of the city centre. This included the need to provide additional tourism accommodation, however the proposal “would result in existing residential stock being lost to the residential housing system, meaning less long-term and secure accommodation will be available to the growing number of families and people who need it”.

The area is reported to be a rent pressure zone, meaning there is high demand for long-term residential rental properties there.

The report added that the loss of six apartments to short-term letting contracts was a concern due to the existing housing shortage currently experienced within the city of Dublin.

The consultants said that since 2016, there had not been a single demand for planning permission for the change of use of apartments to short-term rentals in the city council area despite the exponential increase in centrally-located short term holiday lets.

They also argued that the proposed development was consistent with the delivery of overseeable, enforceable short-term lettings for visitors. According to them, the proposal “simply seeks to regularise a use that has only relatively recently been identified by government as a change of use in planning terms despite short term letting being already advertised and used”.

In their submission, the consultants reported that “short term letting is a real tourism accommodation category that must be fulfilled for Dublin and Ireland to compete internationally”.

Friends First now has the option of appealing the council decision to An Bord Pleanála.