Short-stay fines threat

Gov­ern­ment Bill to en­sure providers ‘play by the rules’

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - JACK PAYNTER

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”.

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