Queensland strata residents concerned about Airbnb security, new research finds

One in three Queensland strata residents are concerned about apartment security from Airbnb guests, according to new research conducted by a Queensland body corporate company.

Archers the Strata Professionals investigated the attitudes of more than 550 Queensland unit owners and residents towards accommodation sharing services like Airbnb and Stayz, to determine how they impact unit owners in the sector.

Airbnb is an accommodation sharing service that allows property owners and residents to let their rooms or properties out to people seeking short-term lodgings. With more than 50,000 listings across Australia, the service continues to grow in popularity.

Archers partner Grant Mifsud said while the survey found more than 85 percent of participants were familiar with these services, many were unfazed by the platform, with 45
percent reporting they would welcome Airbnb within their complex.

Yet, despite the apparent support for such services, more than 30 percent of respondents acknowledged concerns over apartment security.

“With Australia going through a widespread apartment boom, and more and more people choosing to live in strata complexes, we need to make sure that accommodation sharing services like Airbnb aren’t negatively impacting residents,” Mr Mifsud said.

“The research demonstrates some residents feel their safe, private apartment buildings are being infiltrated by a steady stream of unknown visitors, who stay for short periods of time.

“Consequently, a number of strata residents are becoming uneasy about apartment security.

“As Queensland doesn’t have specific by-laws in place related to Airbnb and strata complexes, we encourage strata managers to work with residents to address any concerns they may have.”

While Airbnb has been the topic of much controversy and debate in NSW, the heat is yet to reach Queensland.

This is reflected in the research, which found almost 50 per cent of Queensland strata residents would like Airbnb to be addressed by their body corporate.

“Developments in technology and the popularity of the sharing economy have surpassed current property legislation,” Mr Mifsud said.

“Currently, the legislation states that, where a lot can lawfully be used for residential purposes, a bylaw cannot restrict the ‘type’ of residential use.

“Therefore, in Queensland, a body corporate doesn’t have much authority to regulate against the use of lots for private short-term letting.

“As such, we’re seeing the greatest impact in small schemes with permanent residents and no building manager.

“In those types of buildings, dealing with unplanned impacts such as increased noise, over use of shared facilities, damage to common property and safety and security issues can be very time consuming for the volunteer committee members, and very expensive for body corporate as a whole.

“Consequently, we encourage residents to work with their body corporate managers to address any concerns they may have about Airbnb, in order to find a solution to any potential issues.”

Last year, 455 Australians reported an incident of more than $1000 worth of damages from Airbnb guests.

“Greater education is definitely needed in this space, and we are committed to working with strata residents to mitigate their concerns,” Mr Mifsud said.

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