Short-stay fines threat
Government Bill to ensure providers ‘play by the rules’
SHORT-STAY accommodation platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway could be hit with fines of almost $16,000 under new laws.
The laws, introduced to parliament late last week, would see booking platforms fined $15,900 for failing to receive or display relevant information on listings.
Hosts could also be hit with a $7950 penalty for failing to provide information or supplying false or misleading information to booking platforms.
The Short Stay Accommodation Bill would require hosts to supply booking websites with certain information, including the planning permit number for the property.
Booking platforms would then be required to display permit numbers on every listing and provide them to the Building Control director at the end of each financial quarter.
Planning Minister Roger Jaensch said the new laws would make sure everyone was “playing by the rules”, but the Opposition slammed the Government for waiting until the final sitting day of the year to introduce the legislation.
“Thanks to the inaction of the Liberal Government there won’t be any action until next March, at the earliest,” Opposition housing spokesman Josh Willie said.
“The Government has been irresponsible by deregulating short-stay accommodation, not enforcing compliance and failing to set up appropriate data to monitor the impact on the private rental market.”
Mr Jaensch said the new laws would paint a clear picture of short-stay accommodation by using the data collected to assist with further policy development and ensure compliance with building, health and safety requirements.
“Tasmanians have em- braced the sharing economy and the Government is committed to ensuring it continues to play a positive role in our visitor economy and community,” he said.
HomeAway, which criticised the draft legislation when it was released in September, said it was pleased the Government had mandated the collection of data from both a host listing a primary residence or a secondary property.
“HomeAway appreciates the Government recognised there were issues with its original Bill and clarified a number of our concerns, particularly mandating the collection of data for the entire short-term rental industry,” a spokesman said.
An Airbnb spokesman said it would look closely at the detail and was “supportive of the intent of the Bill, which will ensure greater transparency and allow families to earn extra income”.