A CRACKDOWN on the unauthorised short-term rental of properties by Airbnb providers in Killarney has resulted in a number of those involved taking action to ensure they are fully compliant with others confirming they will cease operating.
Kerry County Council issued 183 warning letters to ensure proper planning regulations were being adhered to and, since then, two applications have been received seeking a change of use from a dwelling home to a holiday home for short-term letting.
The council’s action was as a result of an investigation and follow-up enforcement measures by the planning department into the unauthorised use of dwellings for short-term rental and unregistered bed and breakfasts in the designated Killarney rent pressure zone.
It emerged this week that of the 183 warning letters issued, 94 of the dwellings are closed for various reasons but the remainder are active and are being pursued by the local authority.
Council official with responsibility for enforcement, Ger O’Brien said, in many cases, people have since registered with the council and are now compliant.
“20-plus cases have come back to us and said they are going to stop. We have a statutory responsibility and we have taken a reasoned approach,” Mr O’Brien said.
He was responding to questions from Cllr Brendan Cronin who said it was important to remember that the short-term lettings of dwellings is not a big industry and, in many cases, it makes up a significant part of a family’s annual income.
“There are many instances that it could have been an old house that was done up or a small adjacent property that’s providing a bit of income for a couple of months in the year,” he said.
“Stopping it could have devastating consequences for a critical part of a family’s income,” Cllr Cronin added.
Cllr Niall Kelleher said some of the people involved could prove they are statute barred and they should get planning permission.
“Will you have to take them all to court and at what cost to the council? We must remember this is a tourist county,” he said.
Killarney was designated a rent pressure zone as a result of rising rent prices and a shortage of housing.
Under planning laws, short-term letting of a house, apartment or a room is defined as any period not exceeding 14 days. The use of a dwelling or apartment for short-term letting constitutes a change of use and is considered unauthorised unless planning permission has been granted.