Brisbane home owners who list their properties on short-term accommodation sites like Airbnb for longer than 45 days could be subject to a 1,000% council rates surcharge, if a proposal from the Greens is successful.
Brisbane Greens mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan announced the election commitment on Friday, saying the plan would "lead to hundreds of dwellings transitioning from Airbnb back to long-term rentals".
"While Airbnb certainly isn’t the fundamental cause of Australia’s housing crisis, returning homes which were converted into short-term accommodation back to local residents helps discourage the treatment of housing as a commodity and would immediately make hundreds of existing homes available to locals who are struggling to find a rental," Mr Sriranganathan said.
Under the policy, the Greens would lower the days a property could be rented on short-term accommodation websites before it attracted higher rates, from 60 days to 45.
The Greens would increase the higher rates from 150% of the standard rates to 1,000% - an extra $10k. This would mean that if an inner-city apartment would normally attract a council rates bill of $1,800 per year, if it is listed on Airbnb or Stayz for more than 45 days, that rates bill would increase to $18,000.
The Greens' proposal would not apply to residents renting out a spare room in their own home as short-term accommodation, or residents renting out their home temporarily while they're travelling.
The move by the Greens comes after a report commissioned by the Queensland government found that a lack of housing supply, not short-term letting, is to blame for Queensland's rental crisis. However, it could be argued that short-term letting is taking away from the housing supply.
It's not just Brisbane property investors who could be impacted by the Airbnb crackdown - the Victorian government is reportedly considering a 7.5% short-term accommodation levy according to The Age.
The Andrews government is expected to announce the 7.5% levy as part of a suite of housing reforms to be unveiled early this week.
The Victorian Greens are asking the government to also consider imposing a 90-day a year cap on short-stay listings.
Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam said imposing a levy on short stays alone would raise an insignificant amount of revenue for the state.
“For the Greens to support a new short stay levy in the Parliament, such a proposal would need to be accompanied by capping the number of days a property can be listed and imposing a rent freeze or caps.”
“Strong short-stay regulations in Victoria would force owners to make homes available to help renters now, not simply increase the price of holidays.