The proposed Act places specific obligations on -
(a) individual owners of short term tourist letting accommodation, and
(b) online platforms and other media which advertise properties for short-term tourist letting
Registration Of Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill 2022
As part of the Irish Government’s Housing for All plan, the proposed legislation seeks to establish a register of short-term tourist letting (STTL) properties to ensure that housing stock is used to best effect in areas of housing need. It revises and adapts the current regime as provided for in the Tourist Traffic Acts 1939 – 2016. Fáilte Ireland (FI), the national tourism development authority, estimates that up to 31,000 properties are being advertised to tourists in Ireland at present. The majority of these are not known nor registered with FI as part of
its existing national accommodation quality schemes and a significant amount of properties which do not have the necessary planning permission are being advertised to tourists. Previous enforcement attempts have not been effective largely due to the addresses of STTL properties not being indicated on online platforms. The proposed legislation, will require that any party offering accommodation for periods of up to and including 21 nights to tourists will need to be registered on a new STTL register and hold a valid registration number issued by FI. STTL properties will need to renew on an annual basis. Upon payment, a number will be provided instantly to all properties registered which must be displayed on any advertisements / booking platforms. Those registering a property will self-declare compliance with local planning regulations. Should it be determined afterwards that the property does not have the requisite planning permission in place etc, then their registration will be suspended pending an investigation / granting of relevant planning permission.
An Application Programming Interface (API) will be created which will allow access to the STTL register in real time from which Local Authorities and booking platforms will be able to programmatically cross reference the properties listed to ensure they are registered and have an up-to-date STTL number. All non-registered listings will need to be removed from any given booking platform until they provide a current registration number or meet the necessary requirements. Where the accommodation does not appear on a register and no valid registration number is held, the proprietor and any person who promotes the premises will face prosecution where they provide, advertise, or otherwise offer such unregistered accommodation to tourists for periods of up to and including 21 nights. To compel compliance with the obligations to register a STTL, FI will have the power to initiate criminal sanctions against a proprietor for failing to comply with the requirements of the proposed Act.
In order to appropriately police the STTL market FI will need to monitor platforms to ensure that the short term lets promoted are compliant. Online booking platforms will be liable for civil sanctions for failure to comply with the provisions of the proposed Act.