McNelis raises concerns over numbers of AIR B&Bs in the city

Many apartments in the city centre being run as Air B&Bs are not paying commercial rates or water charges, but are instead “reaping the benefits” of the hard work of rate payers in the accommodation industry in Galway.

This is the view of Labour city councillor Niall McNelis, who has also raised concerns about the “large numbers of properties” in the city which have been taken out of the rented property mix and long term housing stock, and are instead put into short term lettings for platforms such as Air B&B.

“I am a big fan of this kind of home sharing and the experience is very rewarding to the visitor and host,” he said. “Many struggling homes with mortgages have used this as a way to generate extra income. The issue is that in Galway a great number of homes have been taken out of housing stock and been turned into businesses.”

Last year a letter was issued by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, which stated that properties would require commercial planning permission to be used as short-term lets, which is restricted up to 60 nights a year. However Cllr McNelis said many apartments in the city centre that are being used as short term lets are “full seven nights a week”, paying neither commercial rates nor water charges.

Cllr McNelis, who is also the Labour party candidate for Galway West at the next General Election, expressed “disappointment” that Air BnB itself was “unable to attend” the scheduled Planning SPC of Galway City Council on Tuesday.

“I had hoped that this could have been discussed with the platform company so we could highlight issues that housing charities, tenants, resident associations, and members of the hotel industry have raised,” he said. “I have again asked they be invited to attend the next planning SPC and in the meantime I have requested a meeting with them in Dublin.”

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