On a recent visit to Dublin for a trial at the Four Courts, I was, once again, struck by the vast number of homeless fellow citizens of all ages, sleeping rough on the streets of our Capital. I reflected on how there was so much more to our homeless crisis than what meets the eye on the street, with thousands of families crammed into temporary accommodation, in violation, in my view, of their fundamental human rights. As a mother of two young children, I cannot imagine the strain of raising a family in a single hotel room.
I got on with my work in the Four Courts, and ultimately settled the case I was handling, which was a happy outcome for my client, his family, and for the legal team. On my return trip to Heuston Station however, the homeless debacle once again reared ugly its head in my mind. I raised this issue with my taxi driver.
I often feel taxi drivers are the barometer for a place and know so much about what makes a city tick, or not, as the case may be. My driver indicated that in his view, the emergence of various short term letting websites and opportunities has clogged up the availability of numerous properties which would, otherwise, be perfectly suitable for long term lets to many of the aforementioned families embroiled in this ever mushrooming homeless crisis. He indicated that as he sees it, short term lets offer more money with less or no tax implications for the landlords. I am not so sure it is that simple.
Before a landlord jumps at a short term letting opportunity, he/she must consider the legal position very carefully.
The landlord should check if there are any covenants in the deeds prohibiting or restricting such a letting. Similarly, if (s)he has a mortgage on the property, there may be restrictions, so this should be checked with the financial institution. There may also be planning repercussions. In some areas, there are limitations on the numbers of days per year a property can be let without a change in planning use. It is very important to know if this does or does not arise for each property. An enquiry to the local planning office would be prudent.
Landlords should be aware and sensitive to the fact that if the premises is let on a frequent basis, there is a far greater risk of disturbance or nuisance to neighbours, which may cause unforeseen problems.
Before deciding to let a premises, it is strongly recommended that advice be sought.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 4275673 or [email protected] if you would like more information.
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