Property Clinic: Planning authorities can take legal action in cases where a property does not have the required permission
There are strict rules governing the letting of holiday homes.
Aileen McGing, Solicitor at our firm, recently featured in The Irish Times Property Clinic. You can read the original article here and or read the full article below.
I have been trying to get information on what is required to apply for a change of use of a house to a short-term holiday let. Most comments I have read online state that you have to write to the local authority to request a change of use. Is that all I have to do? Or do I need to engage an architect to draw up plans, etc and have them submit it for me? I do not have a copy of the original planning application/decision made some 30 years ago.
The background is we own a holiday home in the southwest, and we rent it out as a short-term let when not using it ourselves. However, the area, a very-popular tourist town, has now been designated as a rent pressure zone (RPZ), and we are anxious to be fully in compliance with the laws. I would appreciate it if you could shed any light on this.
A person who owns a property in an RPZ which is not their principal-private residence and who wants to let it for short-term letting purposes (ie, stays of less than 14 days at a time) will be required to apply for a change-of-use planning permission unless the property already has planning permission allowing it to be used for tourism or short-term letting purposes, writes Aileen McGing.
You need to check the original planning permission for your holiday home to ascertain this (which can be done if you call to the local authority for the relevant area). Websites which advertise properties for short-term letting will no longer be able to do so if the properties do not have the correct planning permission from November 3rd, 2022, and they and the owners will both be liable to be fined if the properties being advertised do not have the correct planning permission.
Regulations were introduced in July 2019, setting out the rules governing short-term lettings. The purpose of these regulations was to bring properties used for short-term tourist lettings in RPZs back to the long-term rental market. Rent pressure zones are areas where rents are highest and rising quickly and will continue for the length such zones remain in place.
If you need to get planning permission, you should apply for it by filling in a planning application form and submitting it together with the required documents to the local authority where your holiday home is located.
Before doing this, you should contact the planning department of the local authority where your holiday home is located to seek advice about the application, documents you need (in addition to the application form), the fee and any other requirements. Depending on the documentation you are required to submit with the planning application form for a change of use, you may need to obtain professional advice from an engineer, chartered surveyor or architect.
For new short-term letting use, you should apply for planning permission, whereas for existing unauthorised use, you must apply for retention permission.
Prior to making its decision on a planning application about short-term letting, the planning authority will consider several factors, such as whether there is a high housing demand in the area, if rents are increasing rapidly, the adequacy of housing supply, and the number of planning applications for short-term lets. It should be noted that if these factors apply in the area of your holiday home, it is unlikely that planning permission will be granted. A planning decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála if you are unsatisfied with it.
Planning authorities can take legal action if a property does not have the required permission, or where the terms of a planning permission have not been met under the Planning and Development Act 2000.
Finally, if you are offering short-term lettings in a rent pressure zone but are exempt from the planning permission requirement, you still need to register with the local authority to avail of this exemption. You must complete certain forms and provide any additional documents needed and send them to the relevant local authority within the required time limits.
Aileen McGing is a solicitor with P O’Connor & Son, solicitors.