Airbnb = costly overnight stay

NSW councils are threatening hefty penalties for property owners renting out houses and rooms through short-term accommodation sites such as Airbnb.

The Randwick Council has issued letters giving 10 days for property owners to respond to a warning they could be liable for a maximum penalty of $1.1 million plus an additional $110,000 a day for operating “unauthorised” bed and breakfast businesses, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Other owners have been instructed to apply to become licensed B&Bs that would include expensive upgrades like fitting commercial kitchens whether they provide meals or not. Sydney councils were telling residents they would need to lodge development applications and were threatening $1 million-plus fines for what the councils saw as an illegal breach of their planning controls.

Sam McDonagh, Airbnb’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, said the regulatory framework in NSW was “confusing”.

“Queensland and Victoria both already have clear rules that allow people to rent out their homes for any period of time,” Mr McDonagh said.

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