Airbnb overshadows the Limerick rental market

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THERE are 457 Airbnb rentals currently listed in Limerick in comparison to just 11 properties for tenants to rent and live in.

A check on property website Daft.ie shows that properties offering full tenancies in Limerick city and county are far outstripped by short-stay accommodation options like those on Airbnb.

In the city, only four rental properties are up for long-term rental on Daft at time of print, with 57 short stay lettings listed on Airbnb.

In the county there are 400 Airbnb listings and just seven residential lease properties.

Latest figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show the average rent for new tenancies in Limerick city is €1,273, compared to the €1,460 national average.

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On Airbnb, one two-bed house in Raheen is currently listed at a monthly price of €15,799 rising to almost €17k, depending on time of booking.

The two-bed property in question lists a capacity of five people, offering a king-sized bed, double bed, and a sofa bed (available by request).

Head of Public Policy for Ireland at Airbnb, Derek Nolan, says “it is misleading to compare available listings on Airbnb to long-term rentals as these are often local family homes being shared occasionally”.

Mr Nolan added that nearly nine in 10 Airbnb hosts “have just one listing, and more than half of hosts say the additional income helps them afford the rising cost of living”.

Una Burns, Head of Policy and Communications at Novas, the largest provider of homeless services in Limerick, sees the everyday impact of the lack of properties available to rent throughout the county.

“There being more Airbnb than long term tendencies, that’s definitely a concern,” she says, adding that the issue is “something the housing sector has been flagging for some time”.

According to Ms Burns, it’s not just traditionally low income families or people relying on social welfare that struggle to access accommodation on the private rental market.

“There’s just no supply. Demand continues to strip supply. Our accommodations are full all the time. Demand exceeds capacity for us in our community and family services. We’re getting more calls than ever before,” Ms Burns told the Limerick Post.

In a bid to increase the number of rental properties available, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien announced tighter restrictions on short-term rentals, such as those advertised on Airbnb.

However, the plans, that were initially to come into effect on September 1, have now been pushed back to November 3.

The impact of the proposed new restrictions would mean that online platforms like Airbnb would not be able to advertise lettings in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) without the appropriate planning permission.