Risky Business? Study Reveals Increase In Growth At Airbnb Properties In Moreton Bay Region & Other Areas In The Country

Airbnb
Photo credit: Australian Traveller

Airbnb rentals have recorded a spike in various parts of the country, including Moreton Bay Region. The records are based on a study by the University of Sydney as sponsored by the Australian Coastal Councils Association (ACCA) wherein 12 councils across the country have participated. The increase in growth also sheds light on its potential risks following several accidents that happened at Airbnb properties.

The councils that participated in the study are:

  • Bass Coast Shire Council (Vic)
  • City of Busselton (WA)
  • Byron Shire Council (NSW)
  • Douglas Shire Council (QLD)
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council (NSW)
  • Kiama Municipal Council (NSW)
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council (QLD)
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (Victoria)
  • Moyne Shire Council (Victoria)
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (NSW)
  • Shoalhaven City Council (NSW)
  • Sunshine Coast Council (QLD)

The housing rental platform was launched in the country in 2011 where over 130,000 properties were listed following its launch. Coastal communities show an even higher rate of short-term rental properties.

The research also shows that in just over 18 months from April 2016 to December 2017, the numbers of Airbnb properties have doubled in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, and WA.


Airbnb Risks

This alerted the ACCA. According to Barry Samels, the Chair of ACCA, “Traditional holiday accommodation providers are required to meet minimum fire and safety standards. As matters stand, these requirements do not apply to properties listed in Airbnb and similar platforms, posing a potential risk to guests,” he said.

There have been several accidents that happened over the years whilst guests were staying at Airbnb properties.

Last month, a four-year-old boy died whilst staying at an Airbnb rental in the Sunshine Coast. The child suffered head injuries after a swing set topped over and landed on him. The death of the child has raised questions on the liability when things like that happen at an Airbnb.

Apparently, a residential property listed on the platform is considered a commercial business thus its insurance coverage changes. Its insurance may cover storm, fire, and cyclone but it doesn’t cover legal liability portion of the home. Airbnb has free Host Protection Insurance, which has a coverage of up to $US1 million that involves third-party claims of physical injuries or property damage.


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Better Council Standards

The study also showed that there are some areas that exceed existing tourism accommodation. With this, Professor Nicole Gurran, who headed the research said that the councils should set baseline standards for short-term rentals in residential areas. Data on short-term holiday rental platforms may also be helpful for local planning and management responses.

Ms Sammels also said that aside from the insurance risk, some of the councils also reported a spike in resident complaints and disruptions caused by Airbnb renters.

“Some permanent residents felt their community had been invaded by tourism and spoke of the stress involved in not knowing when a new party of visitors was likely to arrive next door and how they were going to behave within residential neighbourhood,” he said.

A Tax To Make Things Better?

Also last month, Airbnb expressed its desire to implement a “bed tax” for their clients who will be staying overnight in Queensland properties. This tax will deliver a 5% charge that will help boost local infrastructure and help cities with their revenue without sacrificing tourism.

However, the Palaszcuk government remains firm on their decision that they will not support this kind of tax in the state.