NSW looks set to announce a cap on the number of days a private home can be rented through Airbnb as it fights to stop apartment blocks being turned into “quasi-hotels”.
The overhaul follows a state parliamentary inquiry into the regulation of short term holiday letting, launched in response to a rising tide of complaints about tourists in residential homes.
Sydney, like major cities all over the world, is battling to retain affordable home rental stock to accommodate a burgeoning population as private landlords seek a better return from Airbnb guests.
In New York, London, Berlin, Barcelona, and San Francisco, governments have legislated against Airbnb and other online platforms to prevent affordable housing being turned into holiday accommodation.
The state government is reportedly close to revealing an overhaul of the home-sharing industry, with changes debated last week including a crackdown on ‘party houses’. Owners of homes rented out through websites like Airbnb could face two-year bans for failing to control badly behaved guests.
Since the parliamentary inquiry concluded in mid-2016, Sydney’s Airbnb listings have grown from around 15,648 to a total of 24,038 homes.
According to 9News, some senior ministers oppose any restrictions on owners, while others are pushing for much tougher regulation. A consensus is likely to result in the state trialling a cap of around 180 nights a year for Airbnb rentals.
Tourism representatives argue that some Sydney apartment blocks are now exclusively rented out on home sharing platforms, creating an unfair playing field for traditional accommodation.
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) chief Carol Giuseppi described the units as “quasi hotels”, operating “without paying the taxes, without employing the people, paying the insurances”.
TAA and the Accommodation Association of Australia have long campaigned for fairness within the industry, arguing Airbnb should also be subject to the same GST charges as Australian accommodation providers.