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Airbnb an attractive revenue option for investors, but not without risk

By Tim Neary
20 June 2017 | 10 minute read
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More and more investors are asking about furnished options for their assets as they become aware of the income they can receive through Airbnb, one property manager has said.

“In the past the discussion around furnished properties was minimal, and not nearly as popular as it is now,” Jo Leonardis, department manager - property management at hockingstuart Richmond told REB’s residential property manager.

She also said that an increasing number of tenants ask if they can rent a property and then Airbnb it, with the intent of making money from the rental.

“The ease of Airbnb, with no legal documents to sign and unregulated shorter term leases with more flexible terms, is an attractive option,” said Ms Leonardis. 

But while some landlords are okay with this (if they are solely looking to generate money and a constant high income), she said most are not happy with this concept.

“Most are concerned that they may lose control of the property if there are no strict regulations to stop tenants putting their property on Airbnb,” Ms Leonardis said.

“Landlords are nervous they won’t know who is living at the house with no background checks and the constant turnover of tenants.”

Her colleague, leasing and BDM at hockingstuart Albert Park Loic Mamet agrees and points out that with the growth in popularity of Airbnb, he is seeing an influx in the number of tenants choosing to pay more in rent to ultimately use the premises as an Airbnb business.

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But despite the fast growth in the popularity and interest in Airbnb, Mr Mamet warns that there are still some gray areas in the practice.

“The Residential Tenancies Act is vague on what is allowed, which can cause confusion and sometimes conflict between managers and tenants,” he said.

But Mr Mamet feels the Airbnb movement is here to stay. Property management agencies, he said, should take note of it and respond by beginning to offer more flexible services. 

“The services wouldn’t be as permanent, and can range from a short-term property management for holiday accommodations to a consultant service for self-managed property owners,” he said.

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