Grace O’Sullivan MEP calls for EU action on short-term letting in Wicklow

Green Party MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan has called for EU action to tackle the abuse of short-term letting, as she revealed that there are over 20 times the number of short-term lettings in Wicklow than homes for long term rental.

Speaking from Strasbourg as the European Parliament debated new regulations on short term lettings, O’Sullivan said: “There is a clear need for a more balanced approach between short-term tourism letting and longer-term rentals. Short-term letting can be good for tourism and the local economy, but this positive quickly becomes a negative when local workers and families are priced out of the area, or availability dries up. We’re not talking about people earning a few extra euro by letting out a room, or a granny-flat on a short-term basis. We’re not talking about purpose-built tourism accommodation. We’re talking about full units that would otherwise be family homes being taken off the rental market. 

“It’s gone too far now. In Wicklow this week, there were over 1,000 short-term lets available on Airbnb, versus just 49 homes available to rent on Daft. This is not sustainable for the local community or the local economy, and we must empower Local Authorities and National Governments to tackle this imbalance. I’m calling on the European Commission to approve Ireland’s proposed regulation of short-term letting as soon as possible, and I welcome the European Parliament approval this week of Europe-wide rules on short-term letting transparency to facilitate enforcement of the rules.”

European Housing Ministers will meet next week, March 5th, to discuss the common housing issues affecting Europe. The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament have written to the Ministers attending urging action in five areas, including increasing public investment in affordable and social housing, boosting renovation and construction, ending homelessness, tackling housing speculation, and stricter oversight of short-term letting. 

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