AirBNB is a great concept, and it’s taken off all over the world. The idea behind it is that if you have a spare room, a studio out the back, a flat downstairs, or some form of accommodation that is usually taken up by the occasional friend visiting, your library or just storage for your stuff… instead you can set it up for guests and host travellers from all over the world.
It’s a great way to travel, you get to stay in the homes of locals and be hosted by families. You can be as interactive or independent as you want. They get a bit of money for looking after you, you get somewhere great to stay. I personally have used AirBNB accomodation both overseas and in Australia and it’s my preferred way to book accommodation to stay in.
But like all good things, AirBNB and other home-stay type sites/apps has been abused by people out to make a profit at the expense of others. There are whole unit buildings in the CBD of Melbourne that are ‘managed’ by people posing as hosts on AirBNB, which only becomes apparent when there is an issue or, as in the case of one traveller to Melbourne, they are told “do not contact the concierge of the building under any circumstances”. Then there are the enterprising (some would say greedy) people who are the subject of this article from The Age, who rented a gorgeous Art Deco apartment in the traveller friendly suburb of St Kilda with the specific purpose of renting it out via AirBNB for a profit. Not to live in, not to partially share, absolutely and unequivocally as a business proposition.
The landlord was not happy when they found out and took the tenants to VCAT, who didn’t uphold their right to know who is occupying her property. She then took the matter to the Supreme Court and won. This now sets a precedent for all those people thinking of doing this in the future.
Most landlords want to rent their properties to genuine tenants who want to live there. If the renters want to run the property as a holiday let business, it should be disclosed up front before any leases are signed. Landlords, like any person, don’t like feeling ‘lied’ to about the use of their property.
Here at Harrods we support both tenants and landlords with open communication and transparency. We work towards having an arrangement where everyone benefits, but this can’t be done if one of the parties are not truthful. We urge anyone considering renting a property on AirBNB to be sensible and honest, let your property manager know up front what your intentions are. That’s the premise behind AirBNB and it’s about fairness, honesty and trust from everyone.
For more information about the case, please see this link by write Patric Hatch in The Age here.
©2016 Gina Brett for Harrods Real Estate