Govt backs Airbnb inquiry

17/10/2018 - 15:47

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The state government has backed an inquiry into short-stay accommodation providers, just days after the Australian Hotels Association called for a tightening of regulation of the sector.

Govt backs Airbnb inquiry
Bradley Woods says inequity exists between regulated and unregulated accommodation.

The state government has backed an inquiry into short-stay accommodation providers, just days after the Australian Hotels Association called for a tightening of regulation of the sector.

Planning minister Rita Saffioti said today she supported an inquiry into regulation of the sector, noting that current frameworks do not adequately address regulation of short-term providers, including those letting private rooms or homes through Airbnb.

The WA parliament’s Economics and Industry Standing Committee has resolved to investigate regulation of short-term holiday letting in Western Australia, covering issues including customer safety, insurance, land use planning, building standards, stay length, neighbourhood amenity, registration, licensing and taxation.

Ms Saffioti said the state government had been undertaking consultation and developing options for the future and welcomed the committee’s decision to investigate the matter.

“I want to make sure that there is wide consultation and a bipartisan approach to reform in this industry,” she said.

“This inquiry is an opportunity to have a committee of the parliament test ideas with the industry and to report back to the parliament and then government.”

The AHA has called for online short stay accommodation providers, such as those using Airbnb, to be subject to equivalent regulations as the licensed accommodation sector such as hotels and bed and breakfasts.

AHA WA chief executive Bradley Woods said the inequity that exists between regulated and unregulated accommodation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“It has become abundantly clear that ‘sharing’ platforms are simply not what they purport to be and are instead platforms that help some providers bypass the rules and regulations that hotels and B&B’s are expected to abide by,” Mr Woods said.

While online booking platforms present themselves as providers of ‘shared’ accommodation, Mr Woods said the majority of properties are for entire homes or apartments and bypass the licensing, taxation and regulatory requirements imposed on traditional accommodation providers.

The AHA wants five changes.

Only a host’s primary residence may be listed for sharing.

Listing of entire properties for stays under 14 days be prohibited.

Harmonising of fire, safety, building code and insurance requirements with hotel industry.

Home sharing properties must be registered, to enable compliance monitoring.

Registration fee to be payable, to fund administration and compliance monitoring.

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