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Airbnb in residential buildings: Time for a change?

Crackdown on Airbnb-style short stay in residential buildings - but is Management Rights the best solution

The problems caused by the use of Airbnb-style short-stay accommodations in residential buildings continues to fuel government scrutiny.

Noise, badly behaved tenants, unsophisticated operators, destruction of residential neighbourhoods, reduction in long-term housing, and rent rises are just some of the claims made by critics of Airbnb-style accommodation letting which has increased in popularity in recent years with owners who want to earn extra cash from their residential properties.

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It is indeed a very thorny issue, which recently prompted Brisbane’s City Council to increase scrutiny of Airbnb-style rental operators through artificial intelligence and big data.

The council has signed a contract with Deckard Technologies for the platform to underpin its crackdown on the short-term sector.

In June, Brisbane City Council also announced it would hike rates by 50 percent on properties listed on Airbnb-style platforms for more than 60 days a year in June, and details from its review of the sector are expected soon.

“If Airbnb is the problem, management rights is the solution.”

That’s the mantra that the management rights industry body, Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association (ARAMA) CEO, Trevor Rawnsley repeats.

Management Rights is an industry that started out as an improved service delivery model for holidaymakers on Queensland’s Gold Coast over forty years ago, and it blossomed. Now the business model includes long-term residential tenancy accommodation in schemes right across Australia and in many other parts of the world. 

Management & Letting Rights (MLR) currently generates $55 billion for the Australian economy annually and that number is only rising as more Australians embrace high-density living options in both the long-stay residential and short-stay tourism accommodation sectors.

The industry body for management rights,  ARAMA plays a critical role in promoting and protecting the concept of owner-operated MLR as the most effective method of serving the interests of unit owners, bodies corporate (or owners corporation), tourists and tenants, alongside optimising the industry’s growth and reform.

Trevor Rawnsley, ARAMA CEO

In a report to feature in this month’s Resort News, Mr Rawnsley said that appointing an onsite manager wherever short-stay accommodation was occurring could stop almost all of the problems caused by tenants behaving badly, especially the most common issues around noise, parking, and property damage.

“Airbnb is not the problem,” Mr Rawnsley said.

“The problem is the behaviour of the guests, and management and letting rights can nip those problems in the bud as opposed to a unit owner who might live in many suburbs or even thousands of kilometres away trying to facilitate a hotel arrangement through Airbnb.”

He says a resident manager ensures more careful management than a “distant owner” who has no real contact with the guests.

He points out that some resident managers use Airbnb as an advertising platform which is a good idea, but the problem with short-stay accommodation comes from those people using Airbnb to find tenants and then letting them into a property with no supervision.

“When problems occur, these unsophisticated operators usually go to ground and take no responsibility for what’s happened. In a managed property if there is any sort of trouble the manager pounces on it straight away. With no resident manager in place, it’s normally the other residents who are left with the mess<” he said.

The Strata Community Association of Queensland (SCA) remains vehemently opposed to short-stay letting in residential buildings but say residents are largely powerless to act without resorting to expensive legal redress.

Laura Bos, General Manager, SCA QLD

SCA General Manager Laura Bos told Resort News: “Our position is that Airbnb is fine in tourism-dedicated areas.

“It has no place, though, in residential areas but ultimately, it’s up to the body corporate to make that decision.

“We’ve always said the bodies corporate should be in a position to decide what they want for their communities.”

Ms Bos said the SCA had been advocating for a long time for the Queensland government to approve legislation that would allow bodies corporate to pass a bylaw banning short-term stays.

And she insists that management rights is NOT the solution to the problems associated with short-term stays in residential buildings.

“We are very firm on management rights and caretaking agreements,” Ms Bos said.

“I want to make it really clear we’re not opposed to caretaking or management rights in the right areas – say tourism areas and tourism buildings.

“Airbnb is a booking platform and it’s a good tool where you have caretakers in buildings who run the letting for those properties. But it comes back to the matter of residential amenities. Short-stay accommodation has no place in residential buildings.

“We also believe that with the housing crisis in Queensland, moving residential properties out of what is the holiday pool would obviously alleviate some of the issues there.”

Read the full report by Grantlee Kieza in the November edition of Resort News subscribe HERE

Read more:

Management Rights is under threat now!

Summit tackles escalating Management Rights contracts tension


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