Mayor Hazel Smyth.

Changes to legislation for short term lets welcomed by Smyth

The news that up to 12,000 short let properties could be brought back into the long term rental market due to proposed changes in legislation has been welcomed by the Mayor of the Mullingar Kinnegad Municipal District, Cllr Hazel Smyth.

Under the proposal by Cllr Smyth's Green Party colleague Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin, properties advertised for short-term letting to tourists will be required to register with Fáilte Ireland. Properties owners will also have to confirm that they have gained planning permission for short term letting.

It is hoped that the legislation will take as many as 12,000 properties out of short-term letting and back into the long-term housing market.

Cllr Smyth says that the proposal “will have a positive impact on people living in Westmeath”.

“A search of Airbnb shows there are approximately 44 full properties currently available to let in the Mullingar area. This proposal will ensure that these types of properties are registered and fulfilling their obligations to Fáilte Ireland as tourism and hospitality properties.

"This would be a major stride to help our housing problems and make more accommodation available to everyone, for residential long-term use.

“At a recent council meeting, I questioned how many properties were logged on the short-term letting register for Westmeath and I was informed a number could not be provided. We are in the midst of a housing crisis and need to do what we can to increase the supply of houses, which includes understanding how many short-term letting properties exist and transforming some of these into longer term homes for people”.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Catherine Martin said;

“This is another important milestone in implementing the government’s Housing for All policy. We are committed to ensuring that in areas of high housing demand, houses are distributed in the most effective way. The register will provide a level playing field for all accommodation by ensuring transparency and visibility across the sector. The government will make sure that houses built for residential accommodation will be used for residential accommodation.”

It is expected that the relevant legislation will be enacted by early 2023.