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New South Wales looking to regulate Airbnb

02 July 2015
2 Jul 2015 -

new-airbnb-logoAirbnb is one step closer to being regulated in NSW (Australia) with the State’s Planning Minister taking the matter to a parliamentary inquiry.

Despite more than 10,000 listings on Airbnb for accommodation in Sydney alone, it is still technically illegal to rent out your home to travellers.

Furthermore, businesses such as this – as well as Stayz and Wotif – despite being popular in Australia, still have confusing framework and no clear guidelines for renters and property owners.

Jamie Parker MP, Member for Balmain, said he welcomed the Minister’s intervention. “I am pleased the Minister has responded to my request for an inquiry into the regulation of accommodation services in the sharing economy,” said Mr Parker.

“The Greens are strong supporters of the new ‘sharing economy’. New technologies provide choice, innovation and competition but legitimate regulatory questions have also been raised.

“In some areas, the use of these services to permanently rent out homes or apartments for tourism can affect the character and amenity of the local area. It is important to ensure that accommodation services do not put additional pressure on housing affordability or introduce negative social impacts.”

The Byte recently reported on independent hostels who had signed up with Airbnb, escaping hefty commission rates (Airbnb currently charges a 3% commission rate) which is just adding to the already competitive nature of the game.

Unregulated rooms also leads to the destruction of housing affordability and an increase in rents – which is already a major concern for people living in major cities.

Then there’s also the risks involved with renting out your spare room, with many potential hazards not covered by any type of insurance. Recently the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) urged householders to contact their insurer before renting out rooms to travellers through online sharing services.

“Anyone thinking about renting a room or part of their home should know that they might not be covered for property damage and other losses that could happen as a result of renting it out to holidaymakers. Importantly, they may not be covered for public liability should a paying guest be injured on the premises,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan.

It’s so out of hand that there are reports of a man in Glebe who is renting the back of his van with a mattress for $15 a night.

Source: Alex Harmon, The Byte