Homelessness takes no holidays
Short-term rental properties for holidaymakers are now far outnumbering suitable long-term options for permanent tenants in Cork as homeless numbers rise.
That’s according to housing charity Threshold which says landlords in Cork and across the country are choosing to rent properties suitable for long-term rental on a short-term basis for an often far greater income.
Research carried out by the charity shows that in December 2021, there were 1,247 short-term listings in Cork, 782 of which were entire properties. On 16 March this year, only 73 entire properties were available for long-term rent in the county, with just 36 costing €1,500 or less per month.
This is despite regulations introduced in July 2019 that require homeowners in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) to apply to their local authority for planning permission to change property use to short-term lettings, where these types of lettings exceed 90 days in the year.
All of Cork city, Ballincollig, Carrigaline, Fermoy, Midleton, Macroom, Cobh, Mallow, Bandon and Kinsale are designated RPZs.
Speaking to the Cork Independent, Threshold’s Regional Services Manager for Cork, Edel Conlon said the reason the regulations aren’t being properly enforced may be down to a lack of manpower in Cork County Council.
She said: “It's a resource issue I'd say. There just aren't enough enforcement officers on the ground which is a shame and it needs to be invested in because there's just a massive issue now. The properties just aren't there for people and we've seen the homeless figures starting to rise.”
In one example discovered by Threshold, a landlord has multiple properties listed in both Cork city and county. One short-term property is a two-bed apartment along the coast, costing €302 for a two-night stay. Currently, the only two-bed apartment to rent on a long-term basis in the same area costs €1,650 per month. The short-term property would potentially earn approximately €4,200 in a 28 day month if fully booked.
Ms Conlon said this problem is compounded by a recent spike in notices of termination from landlords looking to sell their properties.
According to Threshold figures, there were 51 notices of termination issued for sale in Cork county, city and Kerry in November 2021. This figure dropped to 26 in November but shot up to 64 in January 2022 and up to 72 in February.
Ms Conlon said this is down to a number of reasons including a high demand for properties in the current market.
She said: “It's a good time price-wise to sell properties, there's fierce demand to buy properties, prices have gone up. The other side of it is, there have been a lot of changes in the legislation around renting properties. It's hard to navigate and it's hard to keep up.
“The majority of landlords in Ireland only have one or two properties, they might have inherited or it might have been an investment. So, it's not their full-time job and it's kind of hard for landlords to keep up to date with all of the changes in legislation.”
A new short-term let registration system is set to be launched by Fáilte Ireland early next year. This new system will mean that property owners must register the accommodation with Fáilte Ireland to let the home as a short-term holiday let. This forms part of the Government’s Housing For All Plan, launched last September.
Ms Conlon said: “We welcome it and it is an additional measure. Again, like the rent zones, these things will only work if they're enforced. We welcome the measure but we need to make sure that there is enforcement around it.”
Threshold now hopes that the Government will go one step further and place a responsibility on the letting platforms to require proof of registration before publishing the advertisement.
Threshold’s helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm at 1800-454454, with webchat at threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.