Airbnb owners targeted by council to help tackle Sydney housing crisis

Randwick Councilor Kym Chapple said Airbnb hosts are making

Randwick Councilor Kym Chapple said Airbnb hosts are making “huge profits” by taking their properties out of the rental market.Recognition:Peter Ree

“These properties were built as residential properties but are then used as hotel rooms, often with a severe impact on neighbours, services and the sense of community that we value so much in Randwick,” she said.

Chapple said it was only fair that a portion of the profits from the short-term rental would be reinvested back into the local community to help pay for the services.

“A council that authorizes more development will not help [the] Supply of homes when all of that is diverted into expensive vacation rentals,” she said.

Chapple’s call to charge Airbnb hosts more than other property owners comes as the NSW price regulator lowered the rate cap for 2023-24 – the maximum percentage by which a council may increase its general income – to a baseline of 3.7 Percent set.

Greater Sydney Local Authorities have a 180 day cap on short term rental accommodation.

“Any changes to STRA daily limits and caps will be considered within two years as part of a policy review,” a spokeswoman for the planning department said.

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Eacham Curry, director of corporate affairs at Stayz, said the problems of housing availability and affordability are complex and will not be solved by a “knee-jerk response” by imposing higher rate rates.

“Perhaps the council should consider a rate cut for owners of STRA properties to reflect the fact that they are only allowed to be rented out for 180 nights and are therefore less of a burden to the provision of council services,” he said.

Curry said many homes on platforms like Stayz are luxury residences and not affordable for low- and middle-income renters: “A lack of affordable, government-funded housing options is at the heart of these problems.”

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Airbnb manager for Australia and New Zealand, Susan Wheeldon, said it was “not thoughtful” to impose higher community rates on Airbnb hosts.

“Proposals like these, if implemented, are detrimental to guests and the wider community who rely on short-stay accommodation to travel affordably in Australia, including for purposes such as caring for and supporting family members,” she said.

Housing affordability is a “really difficult issue” caused by factors such as the supply of new housing and social housing, interest rates and economic conditions, Wheeldon said.

The anti-Airbnb community group Neighbors not Strangers questioned whether higher rates would discourage property owners from renting homes to tourists rather than long-term renters.

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Group spokeswoman Trish Burt said Airbnb hosts should pay commercial rates and fees and undergo annual inspections to ensure compliance with building and safety codes.

“An increase in rates will lead to an increase in overnight rent charged via online booking platforms,” ​​she said. “There will be no homes returning to the rental market.”

Leo Patterson Ross, chief executive of the Tenants’ Union of NSW, said Airbnb-type properties were a factor contributing to the housing affordability crisis

“Although we have to recognize that in an area like Randwick there was already such a dearth of really affordable housing because it was an attractive place to live,” he said.

Bill Randolph, a professor at the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Center, said homeowners should be charged commercial rates for the period their property is rented out on Airbnb.

“After all, they’re businesses, not apartments,” he said. “But it should only apply to properties that are fully rented out.”

Randolph said the additional funds from higher councils should be used to provide affordable housing in the area “as short-term rentals are significantly reducing the stock of longer-term rentals that are available.”

Limiting the number of days that a property can be rented out short-term is “absolutely necessary, especially in any area with a high short-term rental stock,” he said.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/airbnb-owners-targeted-by-council-to-tackle-sydney-s-housing-crisis-20220928-p5blmy.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Airbnb owners targeted by council to help tackle Sydney housing crisis

Joel McCord

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