A FAMILY near Clonakilty are afraid they could lose their home following a decision to classify their area as a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ).
Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) raised the issue at a meeting of Cork County Council’s Western Committee last week.
Cllr Hayes cited one situation in which the family’s sole income is derived from a rental cottage attached to their home at Dunworley in Lislevane, Bandon.
Dunworley, which is on the Seven Heads Peninsula, was once part of the West Cork Municipal District, but became part of the Bandon Kinsale district in a boundary change shortly before the last local election. Cllr Hayes said this problem only arose after Kinsale was designated an RPZ, a classification that brings with it tougher restrictions on short-term rentals.
He believes RPZs can be beneficial in discouraging people from using properties exclusively for Airbnb, especially in cities and tourist towns. ‘There is little or no appetite for long-term accommodation, only short-term holiday lets here.’
The owner of the Dunworley property, Richard Murphy, confirmed it was full with staycations after lockdown. ‘For more than 20 years, we have rented it to tourists and they have supported local pubs, restaurants and shops, as well as the tourism activities and attractions.’
On October 9th last, Cork County Council wrote to him saying he had until October 23rd to register the cottage for a maximum of 90 days’ rental per annum.
Mr Murphy expressed his frustration: ‘The department of housing has made this entire area a rent pressure zone with no real understanding of the location, or of peoples’ livelihoods. Our nearest town Clonakilty – which is still within the West Cork Municipal District – is not a high-pressure zone, yet our remote headland is? It’s a complete farce. Our income was hit by the pandemic and now this. Long-term rentals are not an option. I have tried to secure them without success.’
He said they had availed of the pandemic mortgage moratorium and said this new piece of legislation could force them to sell their property.
‘The irony is that legislation designed to alleviate the housing crisis will have an adverse effect on local communities. It could put people out of business, or worse.’ He has written to the Minister for Housing seeking a deferral and a reversal of the decision.