Ireland: The number of older Airbnb hosts – also known as ’empty nesters’ – is rising at a rapid rate in Ireland.
Airbnb say people over the age of 60 are the fastest-growing host demographic, with the numbers increasing 34 per cent since last year. There are now more than 3,300 hosts in this age group across Ireland.
The hosts said their principle reasons for becoming Airbnb hosts were they wanted to meet people from around the world and it gave them the chance to earn supplementary income.
Senior hosts in Ireland earned on average €3,000 a year from hosting travellers from around the world.
Airbnb said in a statement: “Older adults tend to have extra space – typically freed up after their kids have moved out – and opening their homes to guests allows them to earn supplemental income and make more social connections.”
Senior hosts are also reportedly rated as ‘the most-loved hosts on Airbnb’ with 86 per cent of trips hosted by seniors leading to five-star stay reviews.
However, not only are over 60s becoming the fastest-growing hosting demographic but the age group also represents the fastest-growing guest market.
The number of seniors who have booked on Airbnb has risen by 66 per cent in the past year. The booking site also said it had noticed a shift towards more multi-generation family travel – where grandparents, parents and children all travel together – which has seen a 104 per cent year-on-year growth by Irish travellers.
Between November 2016 and November 2017, around 1.2 million people in Ireland used Airbnb to stay in short-term accommodation – with almost 90 per cent visiting for a holiday or for leisure purposes.
Airbnb said: “As the travel industry continues to grow, Airbnb promotes a unique, differentiated form of healthy tourism: tourism that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable.
“Airbnb’s form of healthy tourism creates new economic opportunities for hosts in the homes and communities where they live, and for guests to go beyond the traditional hotel districts and experience local, authentic neighbourhoods.”
The Irish Revenue has written to around 12,000 homeowners to chase up tax liability that might be due, after Airbnb handed over details of its payments to customers during the period from 2014 to 2016. Any income generated from a commercial letting is subject to tax.
There was some confusion over the terms and conditions of the Rent-A-Room relief, which applies to longer-term lettings, for example to a student for an academic year, from which one can earn up to €14,000 a year tax free.
However, Revenue explicitly states it will exclude any “short-term lettings through online booking sites”, and clarified this further in a guidance note last year.
Irish Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is set to put forward a memo to Cabinet in the coming weeks which would clamp down on property owners using platforms such as Airbnb to cash in on short-term lets on a long-term basis.
The new rules would include a restriction of Airbnb lets in rent pressure zones, of which there are currently 21 in Ireland.
Stricter regulation in the sector would be expected to bring up to 1,000 properties into the rental market in Dublin alone.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he had already discussed the plans and added legislation would be presented before the Dáil in the coming weeks.
Mr Varadkar said: “It’ll still be possible, of course for people to rent out a room in their house on a short-term basis.
“But you couldn’t be using an apartment or house that you own for long-term Airbnb,” he added.