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Kinsale's Renters Face Crisis

Writes JJ Hurley

The Kinsale rental market is in crisis as renters face a severe property shortage in Ireland's premier tourist town.

Despite the government including Kinsale as a pressure rent zone, the lack of availability is demonstrated by a quick online search for rental properties on Kinsale's auctioneers’ websites.

For many local businesses, the shortage is having a detrimental effect on their ability to attract staff to the town. As Haven Bay's Healthcare Operations Manager, Helen O’Regan, stated, 'Our healthcare staff come to Ireland to make a new life. They love Kinsale and all it offers them. There is, however, a significant problem with finding affordable and suitable accommodation. Healthcare in Ireland is highly dependent on overseas staff. 'In order to continue to avail of their services, we need to make accommodation affordable.'

The lack of long-term properties for rent seems to be directly attributable to a growing number of short-term lets in the town, with over 124 properties available to rent online on the night of March 27th.

A recent thread on the lack of availability of rented property on a social media page had many posters blaming the short-term phenomenon as the main reason for the lack of long-term properties to rent.

Governed by legislation introduced in 2019, which related to pressure rent zones, including Kinsale, calls are growing for increased powers by the authorities to regulate this rental market.

Senator Tim Lombard recently raised this issue in the Seanad with the relevant minister, stating, 'We brought in regulations in 2019 that did not address the issue. They stipulated that people could rent a property for 90 days; otherwise, they had to apply to the local authority. Nobody has done that. There has been no active engagement at the local authority level to ensure the Airbnb market is regulated.'

While the minister advised the senator that new legislation was being drafted, Senator Lombard expressed his frustration at its slow pace.

Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan, who also acknowledged the issue caused by the short-term rented property market, called for the enforcement of the current legislation and increased regulation.

However, one couple who invested in purchasing a property in the long term let market said they could see why the short term option was more desirable.

Wishing to remain anonymous, the couple said difficult tenants, high-interest rates on a commercial mortgage, and the loss of their employment and inability to access social welfare because of the rented property forced them out of the market, as the rent only covered the property's mortgage.

Indeed, with the most recent national property monthly index price from at €1,524 across the country, the short-term rental market governed by the current legislation looks to remain a popular choice

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