BY KIERAN O’MAHONY
AIRBNB is destroying Kinsale for people who work in the town who are forced to pay exorbitant rents due to short supply, while many others simply can’t afford to take up jobs there.
That’s according to estate agent Victoria Murphy who said many businesses in Kinsale across all sectors are unable to recruit staff as average monthly rents of €1,500 means they can’t afford to live in the town.
It is understood that there are over 350 properties currently registered on Airbnb in Kinsale.
‘This means that there are less properties to rent for those seeking to move here,’ added Victoria.
‘I’m getting 15 calls or emails a day from people seeking to move here and looking for rental properties which just aren’t there,’ Victoria said.
‘The average rental rates for any properties that are available have shot up too with a three-bed semi going for €1,500 a month when five years ago that would have been far less.’
Newly elected Fine Gael councillor Marie O’Sullivan, who runs the popular Salvi’s Café on Pearse Street, agrees the issue of high rents coupled with a lack of choice means that it’s very hard to get staff.
‘I’m hearing this on the ground from other people working in the hospitality sector. While some businesses have basic staff they are finding it hard to attract full time staff because rents are just too high,’ Cllr O’Sullivan told The Southern Star.
‘The simple fact is that if you can’t get suitable accommodation then you are not going to take up a job position.’
Cllr O’Sullivan – who raised the issue at a meeting of the local authority this week – said that it’s essential to get those with vacant properties to rent them out.
‘There needs to be more incentives to attract these owners to rent out their properties because at the moment they’re taxed too much on rental income. If tax breaks were to be introduced this would release them.’
Liam Edwards, owner of Jim Edwards Restaurant on Market Quay, agrees that it’s a problem and one he’s doubly hit by: he can’t find qualified chefs and if he does it’s very hard to find reasonable rental properties for them.
‘I’m trying to look for a room for a chef that I have hired from Italy and with the cost of renting here in Kinsale we have to factor this into the package we are offering to him as otherwise he wouldn’t take up the position,’ said Liam.
‘It’s also a Catch 22 situation regarding Airbnb because while it brings people into the town, a lot of these properties would have been rental properties before this.’
Despite going through several agencies to recruit chefs Liam is working full time in the kitchen until that situation changes.
‘It’s not just an issue here in Kinsale but also nationally and there is a crisis in this whole area which needs to be addressed by the government and the apprentice scheme needs to be overhauled.’
As well as high rents, latest CSO figures show that Kinsale continues to be the most expensive place in Cork to buy a house with an average house costing €335,000.