Northern Ireland

Stormont urged to regulate AirBnBs to “protect communities” in Belfast

Council calls for Executive to do more over short-term lets

Red brick houses on a street in Belfast.
Belfast City Council wants Stormont regulation of short-term lets such as AirBnBs. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Belfast City Council is urging Stormont to create regulations to control the proliferation of AirBnBs and other short-term lets in residential communities.

The council has resurrected an old motion on the issue of a lack of regulation of short-term lets, such as Airbnbs, that was approved years ago but had gone nowhere due to the lack of a functioning Executive.

At the recent full meeting of the council, members agreed that a letter be sent to the Stormont Executive, asking it to consider taking action over the management of short-term lets.

SDLP councillor Gary McKeown said: “As this city goes from strength to strength, it is fantastic we are getting an influx of tourism, but we need a mechanism that is in place to manage how property in this city is allocated and managed appropriately, in terms of proliferation of short-term lets.

“Communities are being directly affected, it has impact on individual members of communities from individual properties, it has impact on the cost of living in terms of the availability of properties and the cost of renting and buying.”

Last November, an application for the conversion of a property to an AirBnB style house at Limestone Road in north Belfast was refused by the council’s planning committee after a local petition gathered almost 200 objections.