Housing protesters occupy Airbnb offices in Dublin protest

Irish housing activists from the group Take Back The City occupied the Dublin offices of Airbnb on Saturday, to protest against the letting platform, which they say has “exacerbated the housing crisis in Dublin”.

On the weekend of Open House Dublin, Ireland’s biggest architecture festival, Airbnb HQ was open to the public.

The building was forced to shut down after a group of around 30-40 protesters occupied the central atrium in protest against what the group call: “Airbnb’s impact on the housing crisis in Ireland.”

The group say they took advantage of the “open-house” and entered the building in small groups, while a talk was being held by an architect on the history of the building.

Members of the group went on to ask the architect a question about the company’s role in the homelessness crisis before unfurling a banner, and explaining to the public their reasons for being there.

Conor Reddy from Take Back The City said that the group had been inspired by movements against the company on other cities.

“We were pretty well received, it was mostly tourists and architecture enthusiasts.

“We got no real response from Airbnb at first, they had two security men, who didn’t confront us too much, they told us to leave because we were trespassing, but didn’t ring guards.

Housing crisis
Housing crisis

“After around 90 minutes, the office manager came down and said the open day was cancelled, and we left.

“It’s not just a Dublin problem, places like Barcelona have had this issue with Airbnb too.

“We’re calling for a total ban, our rationale is places like Amsterdam, who have had a successful social movement against short term letting.

“We know that regulations haven’t worked, they require a massive amount of time and resources and we don’t have faith in Dublin City Council to enforce those,” he said.

Take Back The City are now calling for a total ban on Airbnb and other short term letting sites.

According to the group, in August 2018 there were 3,165 entire properties for rent on Airbnb in Dublin, compared to 1,329 properties available for long term rent on popular renting site Daft.ie.

Dublin Stock
Dublin Stock

“Landlords have portfolios of properties and let them out for the whole year on Airbnb, if we could find them and target those empty properties, that would be what we would draw attention to next,” Mr Reddy said.

“Sites like Booking.com and key collection and these other companies, we’re calling for action going forward to target all these companies.”

The Department of Housing has recorded that there were 5,834 adults and 3,693 children in emergency accommodation during the recorded period of September, a total of 9,527 people.

There are over 1,350 families homeless in the greater Dublin region.

Barcelona began cracking down on Airbnb in June and forced the site to take down over 2,500 listings in a bid to limit the amount of properties not being offered for long-term rental.