Airbnb has been facilitating stays in Irish homes since 2009 – over 419,000 to date. Between October 2014 and September 2015 alone, 7,200 hosts welcomed guests into their home. Though most of these travellers come from Europe, almost a third travel from the US, with small numbers visiting from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia, according to Airbnb figures.
So what’s involved in opening up your home to travellers via Airbnb?
Who’s the host?
You don’t have to have a degree in hospitality, or an MBA from a prestigious university. All you need is a spare room or apartment/house to let out – anybody can get involved.
The big question – how much could you make? According to Airbnb’s recent Home Sharing in Ireland report, the average Irish host can make around €2,600 per annum – that’s with guests staying for 46 nights throughout the year.
According to the company’s figures, €202m has been generated for the Irish economy via stays with Irish Arirbnb hosts. Cheaper accommodation costs attract greater numbers of visitors, who stay for an average of 2.9 nights and spend around €561 per trip, they say. And, although 43% of travellers stayed in Dublin, the remainder chose locations outside the capital, including 10% who stayed in Galway.
Where Airbnb hosts fit into the tax ladder is a little murky. Airbnb has argued that they should fall under the Revenue’s rent-a-room relief scheme for long term residential tenancies – under the scheme, if you rent one or more rooms in your home, annual income up to €12,000 is exempt from income tax.
Short-term arrangements, such as accepting bookings from online sites including Airbnb, are not covered as of yet – according to a Revenue document, “Income from the provision of accommodation to occasional visitors for short periods, including, for example, where the accommodation is provided through online accommodation booking sites, does not qualify for relief as the visitors use the accommodation as guest accommodation rather than for residential purposes. Income from guest accommodation such as a bed and breakfast or a guesthouse operation is generally treated as trading income (Case 1) and not rental income (Case V). This type of income, even where it is under the relevant limit, does not qualify for rent-a-room relief.”
Last year, Airbnb hosts received letters from the Revenue Commissioners, notifying them of potential tax bills backdated to 2014. For the most up-to-date information, consider contacting a reputable tax advisor.
Airbnb Ireland – the weird and the wonderful
Self-proclaimed as the world’s first self-catering pub, Conroy’s Old Bar in Borrisokane, Co Tipperary is really something different. With two bedrooms, it can host up to four people at €140 per night.
Fancy a religious experience? How about staying the night in a restored 19th century church in Athenry? Priced at €100 per night, Bookeen Hall has two beds for a night’s sleep you probably won’t forget.
Perfect for the person with aspirations, why not spend a night in style in a 600-year old medieval castle? Located in Galway and owned by Peter, one night here will set you back €130. But it’s a castle!