Tasmanian government proposes Airbnb limits

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Landlords in Tasmania considering venturing into the short-rental space may want to reconsider their decision as the state government considers a move that would significantly reduce the viability of any such move.

The Tasmanian government is in the process of reviewing planning regulations in the state as they attempt to move to a state wide planning scheme.

Under that scheme, labelled the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, owners of residential real estate in Tasmania would be able to offer their properties as short-term accommodation through platforms such as Airbnb or Stayz for six weeks (42 days) per year.

Owners looking to offer their property for period larger than that would be required to apply for a permit.

Peter Gutwein, Tasmanian Minister for Planning and Local Government said the proposal “strikes the right balance in meeting the need for tourist accommodation in Tasmania with the interests of existing businesses.”

While Gutwein believes the move is necessary, Airbnb have hit out at the proposed change and warned it will do more harm than good.

“While we’re all for regulation and rules to govern home sharing, they’ve got to be fair and balanced. We know the current proposal will have significant unintended consequences on the state economy and tourism sector if implemented,” an Airbnb statement said.

“Tasmanians have been quick to embrace the sharing economy. In the 12 months to May 2016, the Apple Isle welcomed 118,000 Airbnb guests – a figure which represents about 10% of the state’s total annual inbound tourists,” the statement said.

The short-term rental giant claims the proposed changes would cut the number of Airbnb visitors to Tasmania in half, an outcome that would severely impact owners in the state.

“Not only would it stand to impact approximately five percent of Tasmania’s annual tourism, the rules would significantly hamper the government’s ambition to grow the state’s tourism sector in a sustainable and responsible way,” the Airbnb statement said.

“But worst of all, the proposed rules will hurt everyday Tasmanians – mums and dads, young families and seniors - who open their homes or spare rooms to welcome travellers from around the world. On average, the total amount generated through Airbnb by a host in Tasmania is just $6,400 a year; and while that might not sound like a lot to some we know the impact of that money can often be life changing.”

Airbnb also said the proposed changes go against moves being made in other states around Australia, which are becoming more accommodative of the short-term industry.

Earlier this year the NSW Government released a position paper that indicated it will be more receptive to owners utilising platforms like Airbnb.

The short-stay giant also announced this week that it has hired four ex-city mayors, including one from Adelaide to better help its rollout across the globe.

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  • Karen Stiles says on 28/07/2016 11:03:59 PM

    Tasmania has fabulous tourist accommodation including gorgeous, regulated Bed & Breakfasts. Accommodation providers need certainty if they are to invest in Tasmania. Competing with unregulated hosts, who are not properly insured, is not inviting. The government is on the right track.

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