IRISH HOSPITALITY FIRM the Key Collection has been served with warning letters in relation to its operation of several short-term lets in Dublin city centre.
Owned by Sheila O’Riordan and Nina Gillett, the Key Collection is one of the largest providers of short-term lets in the capital, renting apartments across nine complexes in the city.
The firm, set up in 2011, also operates four hotels and four guesthouses in Dublin and two hotels in London.
New documentation published by Dublin council shows that the local authority has received complaints about the firm allegedly leasing eight residential properties on a short-term basis in Dublin without proper planning approval.
The complaints are in relation to eight apartments the firm operates in Chancery Hall at Blackhall Place, Dublin 7.
A spokeswoman for Dublin council has told Fora that warning letters have been issued to the Key Collection in relation to the operation of these housing units as short-term lets.
She added that investigations are still ongoing and to date no enforcement notices have been issued to the company.
In August, Sacreto Limited, a company owned by O’Riordan and Gillett, sought permission to lease the Chancery Hall housing units on a short-term basis.
The company argued that if the properties were being let on a short-term basis, “no change of use has taken place and the subject unit remains in residential use”.
Last week, Dublin council ruled that the firm has no permission to let the properties on a short-term basis and said it would need to secure full planning permission to operate on a commercial basis.
The council noted that the property was intended for private residential use and not for use as a short-term let.
The local authority also referenced a government memo issued to it last year, which said it should consider “protecting the existing stock of residential property in areas of high demand” when ruling on planning applications for short-term lets.
The council added that a 2017 State report on the impact of short-term lettings on the country’s housing market noted the adverse impacts a high concentration of short-term lettings has on local communities.
“The joint committee report called for short-term lettings in excess of 90 days should require change of use planning permission,” the council said.
The Key Collection still has the option to appeal the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála.
The planning decision has come at a time when the State is clamping down on short-term lets in the capital.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said last month that he plans to introduce new regulations for companies such as Airbnb and landlords that let out their properties on a short-term basis.
In recent years, the shortage of available properties has driven up the cost of rents in the city past the levels seen during the Celtic Tiger.
The Chancery Hall apartments are not currently listed on the Key Collection’s website.
Fora has contacted the company for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The most recent accounts for Roomyield Hospitality Limited, which trades as the Key Collection, show the firm recorded a profit of €327,000 during 2016, which pushed accumulated profits past €966,000.