With so many travel guides declaring Galway a must see destination in 2020, the latest of which was CNN, calls have been made for a clampdown on AirBnb rentals to protect locals.
People Before Profit are calling on the city council to clamp down on AirBnB rentals amid concerns that many landlords are ignoring regulations that require them to register.
Almost 1,800 AirBnB rentals were advertised in Galway last December, but despite this just three landlord registered there properties with the city council.
Regulations which came into effect last summer say that AirBnB style rental properties in rent pressure zones must be registered with the local authority.
They can also only be let for 90 days a year at most, and no more than 14 days at a time. However, they have had little impact, with rental numbers continuing to rise.
Local PBP representative Joe Loughnane said that attracting tourists to Galway should not come at the expense of locals.
“There are many benefits to our city being regarded as an attractive tourist destination. It means jobs and money for local businesses.
“However, the needs of tourism shouldn’t be put ahead of the needs of people who need to live here. Galway is already one of the areas worst affected by the country-wide housing crisis.”
“If our status as a tourist destination results in an increase in large-scale AirBnB rentals in the city, the individuals and families who need a long term place to stay are going to suffer even more.”
The lack of registered landlords means that many are ignoring the rules in order to skirt regulations on short term rentals Loughnane said.
“We’re not against individuals and families using a spare room for a bit of extra income. The problem arises when you have landlords with multiple properties on the site.”
“This means that housing stock that is crucial to easing the crisis is off the market. Galway City Council needs to start looking more closely at AirBnB in the city to make sure this doesn’t get any further out of hand.”