I welcome the clarification from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on short-term letting. O’Driscoll had raised the potential impact on tourist accommodation of the Fermoy Local Electoral Area (LEA) being designated a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) by Minister Eoghan Murphy.
The purpose of an RPZ is to limit rent increases to a maximum of 4% per year. This is a good thing as it provides a level of stability for renters. Fermoy has seen substantial rent increases over the last two years, so this will help to reduce high rent inflation. A second element of an RPZ is the effective banning of short-term letting in houses that are not a person’s principal residence. While this makes sense in larger urban areas where there are plenty hotels available for visitors, it does not make sense in Fermoy or in the rural areas around Fermoy that are also affected.
I raised this directly with the office of Minister Murphy. The Minister’s office has given assurance that guidance will be provided for Cork County Council to recognise that the situation in the Fermoy LEA is not the same as that of large urban areas, and that the decision to designate an area as a RPZ should not negatively impact on rural tourism.
Cork County Council will be able to take into consideration the limited availability of accommodation for tourists and other visitors to the Fermoy area. The new guidelines to be issued will allow the Council to recognise that some houses and apartments in Fermoy and in the rural areas around Fermoy are not appropriate for long-term renting, so they should therefore be given planning permission for short-term letting. The development of tourism in North Cork is an ongoing and important development. We can only continue this if we have sufficient accommodation available, which includes short-term letting.