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Problems rising around government support of Airbnb

By Staff Reporter
02 May 2017 | 9 minute read
caution tape wrapped man

The NSW government has given its support to short-term letting in the state, but several issues still need to be addressed, says one property manager.

 Justin Ferguson Property Specialists principal Justin Ferguson says property managers need to ensure unresolved issues relating to short-term letting are dealt with.

“As the sharing economy of Airbnb continues to boom, there are increasing issues that come with the management and legality of these properties,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Currently, local councils and governments are struggling to keep up with the growth of short-stay rentals and are increasingly put under pressure to implement laws to make this sharing economy explosion fair for everyone.”

Mr Ferguson flagged key factors property managers need to consider about short-term holiday letting:

  • As per the Tenants Union, sub-letting must be approved in writing by the property manager or landlord, This is a process that is largely being skipped by the majority of short-stay rentals, which breaks the terms of the lease, and raises issues of insurance coverage and security.
  • If a tenant rents a room or sublets the entire property for a short period of time and fail to declare their participation in the sharing economy, they may be subject to hefty fines by the council, the ATO and state revenue office.
  • There is a lack of understanding by local governments in each state. The NSW government is yet to enforce legislation for short-stay rentals and only six councils in Sydney allow short-term rentals.
  • The majority of properties available in Sydney are whole residential properties and property managers are concerned that properties are being rented out illegally and disrupting traditional rentals.

Mr Ferguson said the main issue with short-term holiday letting services such as Airbnb is the fact that they are unregulated and “confusing”.

“Increasingly, we are seeing hosts being fined for not declaring their extra income from their rental property, as it is technically ‘unauthorised’,” he said.

“On top of that, the housing market is already in very high demand and challenging to break into without properties being acquired for the purpose Airbnb rentals.”

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