Brisbane and Sydney are cracking down on Airbnb, Labor should do the same here

Brisbane and Sydney are cracking down on Airbnb, Labor should do the same here
Ellen Sandell

Melbourne is a great place to live, but the lack of affordable housing is making it harder and harder for us to live here.

The Greens plan to crack down on Airbnb is an effective way we can get more affordable homes onto the long-term market for renters and owner-occupiers. Brisbane and Sydney have taken on our plan, so why won’t Victorian Labor do the same?

We can’t go a single day without seeing news headlines of skyrocketing rent and house prices. And a huge reason is the ever-increasing short-stay accommodation dominating our suburbs, turning homes into hotels.

The proliferation of short-stays is also having a profound effect on our communities - with residents living in apartment buildings that are sometimes 20, 30, or 50 per cent filled with short-stays – eroding our sense of community, creating safety risks, and pushing the burden onto long-term residents to deal with the consequences.

Right now, there are almost 50,000 entire dwellings listed on Airbnb in Victoria. In the middle of a housing crisis, Labor must take real action to free these homes up for people to actually live in.

Labor’s only plan, however, is to put a 7.5 per cent levy on Airbnb stays. However, we know a levy alone won’t free up homes to become rentals. The Greens released a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report revealing that the levy would only make a marginal difference to property investor behaviour and would only help build around 100 homes a year.

Our plan to cap the number of days an Airbnb can be rented out would free up 13,000 homes! This plan for a 90-day cap would effectively push investors to put their properties on the long-term market.

Sydney and Brisbane, and many other cities around the world, are introducing reforms to crack down on short-term accommodation. Brisbane’s latest local law mandates mean landlords will soon be required to obtain council-approved permits before listing their properties for short stay accommodation. The City of Sydney is calling for major reforms, including a 90-day annual cap and a levy of up to 10 per cent to be applied to all bookings.

A day limit cap on short-stay accommodation is a sensible and effective way to help alleviate some of the pressure of the housing crisis we’re in. It would mean you can still rent out a room or rent out your home when you go on holiday but would prevent investors from buying up multiple whole apartments just to make mega profits and never renting them out long-term.

Labor will need the Greens votes to introduce any Airbnb laws – and we will only support a plan that effectively deals with the problem. And we will continue advocating for real solutions to the housing crisis.

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