Brent Thomas Head of Public Policy Airbnb Australia and New Zealand. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES
Brent Thomas Head of Public Policy Airbnb Australia and New Zealand. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

Tenants pushed out of homes for Airbnb letting

RENTERS are being forced out of their accommodation because of short term holiday letting (STHL) according to new research from Southern Cross University.

The in-depth study into the perceptions and impacts of STHL in Byron Shire has revealed that almost to half of renters interviewed (90 of 215) were forced to move elsewhere as landlords shunned the traditional market in favour of the short term holiday cash.

But the news isn't all bad, the study "Airbnb in the Byron Shire - Bane or Blessing?" also revealed STHL provided increased employment opportunities for locals and local tax revenue which could have wider impacts on regions like the Gold Coast.

Project leader Dr Deborah Che of the School of Business and Tourism said the leanings from Byron Bay can be used in similar tourism hot spots like the Glitter Strip.

"In some ways the Gold Coast is a big Byron Bay, it has had that same tradition of short term holiday letting.

"While any feedback is anecdotal we would expect to see the same concerns and benefits provided by the short term rentals on the coast."

 

Dr Deborah Che, Lecturer School of Business and Tourism Southern Cross University Picture: Supplied
Dr Deborah Che, Lecturer School of Business and Tourism Southern Cross University Picture: Supplied

Dr Che said the issue of regulation was key for both renters and hosts who took part in the study.

"Overall respondents want regulation and don't feel they have a voice," Dr Che said.

"Mainly what was flagged was the properties without onsite management, so neighbours had no one to complain to, no authority, and absentee investors generally didn't want to hear about it."

"These findings will then help inform state and local government strategies."

"We would love to widen the study to the Gold Coast."

 

A majority of those interviewed were seeking a cap for the number of nights used for short term rentals at sites without management.

The research by SCU follows an Australian Coastal Councils Association report that described Byron Shire as one of Australia's least affordable regional rental-housing markets with 17.6 per cent of properties listed as short-term holiday lettings.

Airbnb's Head of Public Policy ANZ Brent Thomas said Airbnb is not a significant factor in the housing market in Byron or the Gold Coast.

"For decades, holiday homes have been a big part of the local housing market, and the only change is that these holiday homes, which were never for long-term rent, are now listed on Airbnb," Mr Thomas said.

"The big factors influencing affordability remain population growth, the planning system and taxation."

The head of Airbnb contends that the digital disrupter makes a "significant contribution to the Byron Bay community".

"Home sharing helps local families earn extra income and creates more jobs in local cafes and shops," he said.

"We understand the unique challenges facing Byron Bay, and believe the incoming NSW home sharing rules appropriately address those challenges."

"These common sense rules protect people's choice and local jobs, while managing concerns about housing affordability and amenity."



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