Airbnb is today proposing a series of measures that will help build stronger communities, foster sustainable tourism growth, and equip governments across Australia with tools to help address important issues, such as housing affordability and amenity.
The proposal includes the introduction of statewide registration schemes and codes of conduct in every state and territory, support for a tourism levy to fund housing and community projects, and support for government reviews of eviction protections to ensure that current systems are fit-for-purpose and provide adequate housing security for long-term renters.
“Airbnb was born during the Global Financial Crisis to help families afford their homes and make ends meet, and we remain committed to empowering everyday people to combat costs of living,” said Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
“Airbnb is keen to play a part in helping to provide meaningful solutions and tackle the issue of housing supply and affordability, in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders. While short term rentals generally comprise a tiny proportion of the overall property market, we’re keen to keep finding ways that we can make a positive contribution to this important issue.
“Housing affordability is a challenging and complicated issue. The causes differ from place to place, with legacy factors – which often pre-date the founding of Airbnb by decades – ranging from the supply of new homes, the ratio of public housing, the number of empty dwellings and rooms, interest rates and broader economic conditions.
“However, as a company with housing affordability and cost of living needs in our roots and origins, we want to play our part in proposing meaningful solutions that can help tackle these problems and help make a positive contribution to this important issue.
“We’re also seeing the effects of increasing housing pressures on our platform, with more people turning to hosting as a way to battle rising costs of living and growing mortgage repayments. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing people increasingly rely on hosting to make ends meet in the face of the current economic climate.
“Airbnb remains committed to being a constructive and collaborative partner to governments and communities across Australia so that more people can share in the benefits of travel.”
Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb Country Manager Australia and New Zealand
In a recent survey1, more than a third of Australian Hosts said one of the reasons they host is to earn money to help cover the rising cost of living, while almost four in 10 said that hosting income has helped them stay in their home. Many Hosts also do not use their property for short-stay accommodation all-year round – with many doing so on an ad-hoc basis to help meet their mortgage repayments, pay bills or save for their retirement.
What Airbnb is proposing
- Airbnb supports the introduction of mandatory, industry-wide statewide registration systems in states and territories that implement broader regulatory frameworks2. Transparency over the number and location of listings is vital to understanding the industry, and for governments to be able to make informed policy decisions.
- Airbnb’s support for opt-in tourism levies to fund much-needed community infrastructure and services — for example, key worker housing projects — in communities across Australia.
We believe tourism levies are a fair and sustainable way to raise revenue for local communities, especially in areas of high tourism, as they broaden the revenue base without imposing an additional burden on local ratepayers or businesses. Airbnb is committed to working with the state and territory governments to enable local councils to establish — on an opt-in basis — a tourism levy applied to all accommodation providers.
- The introduction of state and territory Codes of Conduct that establish clear standards of behaviour for all industry participants — guests, Hosts and community.
- Review eviction protections in the states and territories where required, to enable governments to identify any potential shortcomings or gaps in the regulatory frameworks that protect tenants. There is no place for unscrupulous landlords on Airbnb, and we are committed to working with state and territory governments to be part of the solution when it comes to ensuring long-term renters have appropriate protection.
It’s also critically important that everyone works collaboratively together to address the complex and multifaceted issue that is housing affordability, including by finding ways to grow supply and tackle the issue of empty dwelling and rooms.
As Census data recently released by the ABS demonstrates, one of the more pervasive issues in housing availability in Australia is the sheer volume of empty dwellings – over one million – an enormous figure when contrasted with the comparatively tiny number of houses listed on short-term rental platforms. It’s also important to find ways to address the nation’s glut of empty rooms, which the ABS estimates to be about 13 million, as part of a holistic approach to the broader issue of housing affordability.
While this difficult issue won’t be solved overnight, Airbnb stands ready to keep finding ways to make a positive contribution.