Short-term rental operators have called for national regulation of their own industry to become part of the solution to Australia’s rental crisis.

The industry has been blamed for exacerbating the long-term rental housing shortage and the Australian Short Term Accommodation Association (ASTRA) admits it is feeling the “heat”.

“Absolutely, there is an issue that needs to be addressed,” board director Yoav Tourel said.

“We need to work together with the government to see how we can help with that.

“The correlation between the heat that the industry is getting and its true impact is quite a discrepancy.”

More than 250 short-term rental providers gathered on the Gold Coast this week to develop a survival strategy for the industry and explore how they could help address the housing crisis.

“We believe that there needs to be a balance,” Mr Tourel said.

“There needs to be the right regulation in place that allows businesses to continue to thrive and work within their communities and ideally it should be done on a federal level.”

Long-term renters displaced

Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning Peter Phibbs was encouraged by ASTRA’s position on regulation but believed control should stay within state and local jurisdictions.

“A state government approach is more helpful for both sides of the problem,” he said.

“When you do have state legislation you have got to have an ability to moderate the approach depending on the local council circumstances.”

Peter Phibbs
Housing researcher Peter Phibbs says local governments need flexibility.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Professor Phibbs conceded that approach might be difficult for the short-term rental sector but said it was necessary to protect local communities.

“In some places there is so much of it, it is causing problems for the long-term rental market,” he said.

“The economic returns are so lucrative that they displace long-term renters — we’ve really seen that in parts of regional Australia.”

Analysis by international data company AirDNA suggested short-term rental supply had fallen in Australia’s two major capital cities before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The loss of supply has been most dramatic in large cities like Melbourne, which is down 33 per cent and down 58 per cent in Sydney since 2019,” AirDNA’s spokesperson Madeleine Parker said.

Different rules

Rules governing the industry differ across states and local councils, with some introducing caps on rentable nights or encouraging neighbours to dob in short-term accommodation providers.

In New South Wales, Byron Shire Council is consulting with residents about reducing the current state-wide limit of 180 days for non-hosted accommodation to 90 days.

The Hobart City Council has banned new whole-home, short-stay accommodation in the inner-city area and Brisbane City Council has created a new rates category for short-term accommodation properties, hiking rates by 50 per cent.

In Western Australia, Broome property owners who plan to rent our their homes via an online platform have to register with the council.

‘Brewing for a long time’

Charities across Australia are reporting unprecedented levels of demand for their services because of a shortage of available rental homes.

housing shortage
Charities across Australia are reporting increased demand for their services as the country grapples with a rental housing shortage.(ABC News: Stephanie Anderson)

Charitable organisation Housing All Australians released the Give me Shelter report in June.

It concluded the cost to Australia of not providing sufficient public, social and affordable housing would be an extra $25 billion per year by 2051.

Founder Robert Pradolin said the heat the short-term rental industry was receiving was just a reaction to a crisis.

“This has been brewing for a long time,” he said.

“The short term politics of this is, ‘Let’s put pressure on the short-term rental market because we need it available for the long-term rental market.’

“What about getting to the nub of the problem which is how do we increase supply to put downward pressure on pricing and allow us to function as a normal society?”

Mr Pradolin said the blame game served no purpose and wanted all levels of government to focus on long-term strategies.

Lack of security

Holiday Rental Specialists founder Rebecca Cribbin, whose company manages 350 short-term operators in NSW, said those in the short-term rental industry did not feel secure.

“We have to take action soon,” she said.

“I would like to see time not wasted from a national perspective and money not wasted where each state is given the power to rule and regulate.”

She called on the federal parliament to address the issue within the next two years.

“Build a real solid foundation of regulation and legislation so that we all know what we are doing, how we are doing it,” she said.

“We can then move on to providing the hundreds of thousands of Australian families with somewhere to go on holidays.”

Article source: Queensland Property Investor

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