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Whitsunday Regional Council yesterday adopted a strategy to ensure higher levels of compliance for short term Airbnb accommodation.
Local governments around Australia are facing major issues created by the uptake of accommodation sharing via websites like Airbnb.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said Council’s adopted strategy allows it to better align the benefits of accommodation sharing with community expectations.
“Accommodation sharing has enabled many people to earn extra income from their residential properties,” he said.
“However this has created issues for Council and residents, particularly when a landlord is absent and properties are used as ‘party houses’.
“Council wants to ensure that all visitors booking accommodation in the wonderful Whitsundays have a quality and safe experience.
“The strategy is aimed at helping residents to lawfully establish short-term letting of their house or unit on Airbnb or similar websites,” Mayor Willcox said.
In 2017, Airbnb transactions in the Whitsunday Region had a turnover of over $36million, creating 195 direct jobs and generating an average monthly income of over $5,000 for a house and $1,600 for a single room.
Council’s strategy includes the preparation of an Application Kit providing advice on the required applications and costs and areas where short-term letting is supported by the planning scheme.
This kit will be available from Monday 8th October.
Applicants will also be advised to check their insurance policies, lease agreements, building classification and body corporate rules.
As an incentive to encourage existing operators to comply with the regulations and to assist new operators, Council will significantly reduce the application fees from Monday 8th October to 30th June 2019.
Council is also aware that a new website advertising short term camping in back gardens called YouCamp has recently commenced.
Residents are advised that without a development permit issued by Council, camping in private properties is limited to one month per year, and not on a commercial basis.
Anyone wanting further information on the Airbnb Strategy is asked to contact Council’s planning department on 4945 0651.