A city council is urging residents to ‘dob in’ properties they suspect are being rented as Airbnb-style accommodation in an attempt to counter an unprecedented housing crisis.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner on Tuesday called for the city’s residents to report neighbours they believe are renting their homes via platforms such as Airbnb, Bookings.com, and Stayz.
The move comes three months after Brisbane City Council rolled-out a rate hike of 50 per cent on short-term rental properties – costing hosts an additional $985 in rates per year.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner (pictured) urged Brisbane residents to report properties they believe are being rented out as short-term stays in an attempt to make more housing available
Schrinner claims the ‘dob-in’ call is not a revenue raising measure, but is an attempt to make more houses available after the state’s vacancy rate dropped to a record low of 0.7 per cent.
‘I’d be happy if this new rating category didn’t raise a single dollar,’ Cr Schrinner said.
‘Brisbane currently has a severe housing shortage because not enough homes are being built to meet demand.
‘We want this new rating category to convince owners to return properties to the long-term rental market so they can be permanent homes.’
Homeowners will be sent a letter with their next rates bill asking them to flag any property they believe are short-term stays in their neighbourhood.
Schrinner asked for help from residents in a post shared on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘We’re asking you to help us get more homes back on the long term rental market by letting us know about houses listed on sites like AirBNB and Stayz,’ Cr Schrinner wrote.
The Major went on to explain the rate hike as a means of motivation for short-stay homeowners to return their properties to the long-term rental market.
‘Queensland is in the grips of a housing crisis with Greater Brisbane’s vacancy rate at a record low of 0.7%,’ Cr Schrinner wrote.
‘That’s why we’re asking people to return their homes to the long term rental market or pay higher rates that reflect the home’s commercial use.’
Brisbane Civic Cabinet Chair for Finance Fiona Cunningham said council hopes owners of short-term stays would ‘self-nominate’ rather than be exposed by fellow residents.
In a post shared on Twitter, Schrinner asked residents for their help in reporting properties (pictured)
The Lord Major explained the rate hike of 50 per cent for short-term stays was made to motivate homeowners to return their properties to the long-term rental market (pictured)
Ms Cunningham revealed council will use online technology tools to identify properties that fall into the Transitory Accommodation category.
‘We would prefer if people self-nominate, which occurs already when properties shift from being owner-occupied to rented,’ Cr Cunningham said.
‘However, through technology that’s available, Council can identify properties that have been listed on short-term accommodation websites for 60 days.
‘This is about trying to push properties back into the private rental market while ensuring those that continue to be used on a short-term basis pay their fair share.’
Airbnb country manager for Australia and New Zealand Susan Wheeldon criticised the rate rise as it would hurt everyday Queenslanders trying to make ends meet.
‘Differential rates will place further financial pressure on everyday people who share their homes to help make ends meet,’ Ms Wheeldon said in a statement.
‘Proposals like these, if implemented, hurt guests and the broader community who rely on short-stay accommodation to travel affordably in Australia, including for purposes such as to provide care and support for family members.’
It comes as Brisbane’s vacancy rate dropped to a record low of 0.7 per cent (pictured, houses and apartments in Brisbane)
Last month, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called an emergency summit to tackle Queensland’s housing crisis after a mass interstate migration saw 50,000 people move to the state in just one year.
An initial roundtable of government and non-government stakeholders took place on September 16 and will be followed by the summit in October.
The premier said the Queensland Housing Summit would address housing challenges caused by recent flooding, interstate migration, population growth and delays in construction.
‘Nothing is more important than having a roof over your head – it’s a basic need – and the stories of people without secure housing are heartbreaking,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘In a modern economy where we have one of the fastest growths of the economy in the nation, you know, it is a shock to see people living out of their cars or not being housed.
‘I want Queenslanders to understand I recognise that this is an issue.’
Ms Palaszczuk promised the summit would not just be a talk-fest and would result in ‘key actions’ – including land supplies and social housing – to fix the crisis.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) will head an emergency housing summit in October to address the state’s housing crisis and promised it would result in ‘key actions’