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Major change proposed for Aussie Airbnbs: ‘Fuel to the fire’

Airbnb has been blamed for worsening the rental crisis across the nation.

A person removing $100 from a wallet and the Airbnb logo displayed on a phone.
The Greens want to see local councils have more power over Airbnbs. (Source: Getty)

In a bid to shore up rental supply and constrain the “virtually unregulated” short-term rental market, The Greens have proposed some major changes.

Green member for Ballina Tamara Smith said emergency measures were required to reduce the impact of short-term holiday letting on the rental crisis.

The proposal includes plans to stop all non-hosted, short-term letting of houses built after January 1, 2018 in any NSW local government area where the vacancy rate hits 3 per cent.

It also would require Aussies looking to put their house on the short-term rental market to get a development application and give local councils planning powers to decide when and where short holiday rentals could operate.

Finally, it would allow local councils to place a bed tax on short-term holiday rentals to fund local services and require all to be used as emergency accommodation in the event of a natural disaster.

“Our region has been the belly of the beast for the disastrous impacts of short-term holiday letting (STHL) but now it's adding fuel to the rental crisis across the entire state,” Smith said.

“STHL has removed thousands of homes across the Northern Rivers from the rental market, leaving residents homeless, workers unable to afford accommodation, and people who have grown up here forced out of the region altogether. Something has to change.

“STHL is a business and it’s time to treat it like a business. This policy would end STHLs’ dominance over communities across NSW. By giving regulatory powers to councils, each community can deal with the impacts of STHL in the way that best works for them.”

Smith said it was important to put communities before tourists in the event of a natural disaster.

“I’ll be introducing legislation to implement our plan to regulate short-term holiday letting within the first 100 days of the next parliament. I’m calling on [Opposition Leader] Chris Minns and [Premier] Dominic Perrottet to commit to supporting it and stop STHL adding fuel to the fire of the housing crisis,” Smith said.

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