Airbnb hosts in Australia face being fined if their guests are too noisy

New South Wales hosts may be forced to pay compensation for the inconvenience caused to neighbours

Sophie Christian
Friday 21 July 2017 16:55 BST
Only last week, reports surfaced of a woman holding AirBnB accountable for an alleged assault
Only last week, reports surfaced of a woman holding AirBnB accountable for an alleged assault (Reuters)

With Airbnb rising in popularity, the government in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has proposed a regulation crackdown as the increasing number of guests disrupts traffic, puts pressure on shared facilities and poses a threat to neighbours’ security.

Residents who willingly let out their spare rooms to noisy guests could be forced to pay a fee as compensation for the inconvenience caused to neighbours. The NSW government released a public paper outlining that short-term letters are required to have a licence and pay a tax to cover the costs for providing extra security within their home. The fee will go towards maintaining their facilities for future guests. There will also be a limit on the number of days a room can be let out, under the new law.

One of the proposed rule changes, reported by News Corp Australia, would permit the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to issue a temporary ban on owners letting out their accommodation.

There is uncertainty around whether the government will impose a time limit on letters or not. In New York, it is illegal to advertise an empty apartment for more than 30 days.

The average Airbnb owner in NSW earns approximately $4,400 (£2,900) over a year letting out their home.

​Airbnb stated that they are prepared to accept these new regulations in an attempt to reduce disruption caused by some guests.

Brent Thomas, the company’s public policy manager for Australia and New Zealand, told the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC): “We would look forward to sitting down with the Government and working through anything that’s sensible and anything that’s fair, but it’s got to protect people’s right to respectfully share their homes.”

He added: “It’d be a real shame to see NSW tourism take the prize for being the least innovative state and the state least supportive of tourism in Australia.”

In early 2016, a Tasmanian court ruled that owners could host their property to guests for up to six weeks.

There are more than 40,000 Airbnbs in NSW alone, which includes 17,000 in greater Sydney.

Trish Burt, the Neighbours not Strangers spokeswoman, said to ABC that limiting the number of nights a property can be let out is not good enough.

She said: “It is a residential building and we have tried to emphasise that the disruption every night of the year was intolerable. One night can be a disaster and how do you police that, and who is going to pay to monitor that?”

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