Short-term rentals are permitted in Melbourne, provided that the operator has the right to lease the space. This means that any accommodation listed on Airbnb, Booking.com, VRBO, or any other short rental platform must not breach any lease or rental agreements.
Airbnb has presented a potential challenge to the hotel industry, with peer-to-peer short term rentals offering more competitive pricing and higher quality spaces. On the flipside, it’s presented an attractive option to investors and homeowners even here in the Brunswick property market.
Using Airbnb and similar home sharing apps, homeowners can make a small rental income from spare rooms in the property they occupy, or easily manage their own holiday home as an investment property during off seasons.
However, as Airbnb grows legal issues are looming.
Is Airbnb legal in Brunswick, Melbourne?
Yes, provided you have the rights to lease the space. According to Airbnb terms and conditions, any accommodation listed must not breach any lease or rental agreements and must comply with all applicable zoning laws.
So provided you own the property or have written approval to sublet from the property owner and zoning restrictions allow it, you are allowed to list your Brunswick property on Airbnb.
If your property is a strata title, be aware of complications due to shared walls and common areas. In a 2016 landmark decision, the Victorian Supreme Court found that owners corporations could not legally create rules to ban short-term leases (maximum 30 days) such as those advertised on Airbnb. However, you may find that other members of the owners corporation are unhappy with short term leasing – so consider your relationship with other owners before deciding to list on Airbnb.
Could short term leasing laws be changing?
While Airbnb is currently legal in Melbourne, recent moves from other major cities suggest change could be on its way.
At the start of June, the New South Wales government announced a crackdown on Airbnb properties in Sydney. As the city with the eighth most Airbnb listings worldwide, according to Statista, this poses massive change. New planning laws to be introduced in the coming months will impose a 180-day cap on Airbnb listings in greater Sydney. Furthermore, owners corporations will be given the right to create bylaws disallowing the use of apartments for short-term stays.
Japan, whose capital has the seventh most Airbnb listings in the world, has also introduced new legislation which came into effect on June 15. All Japanese Airbnb hosts are required to obtain a government-issued registration number and adhere to a number of regulations. Airbnb is required to cancel existing bookings in any unregistered properties 10 days prior to the starting date – a complication impacting a number of travellers.
Council Zoning Laws
The law regulating Airbnb rentals is different in each state. In certain states, local government laws are different from state laws. This can cause some confusion for people who want to rent their home through third-party sites.
Sub-lease or Licence?
Another issue surrounding the emergence of Airbnb is whether or not these short term rentals are considered to be a sublease or a licence. Generally, under a lease agreement, you must obtain the landlord’s consent if you intend to sublease the property. A landlord is allowed to permit another person to occupy their property for a specific purpose and for a set period of time if they have a license.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has also raised its concerns with the increasing use of Airbnb in Australia. The primary concern is that people are using Airbnb to evade taxes such as Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and GST.
The income that you receive from your Airbnb rental is generally considered to be part of your assessable income.
There are other regulatory issues that arise in light of the use of Airbnb and Stayz websites. However, the regulations for this area of regulations are not quite developed yet.
As a landlord, if you are using Airbnb, it is important that you take out public liability insurance and advise your insurer that you plan to rent out your property. This is because the Airbnb Host Protection Insurance does not cover everything, including home and contents insurance.
Airbnb Host Protection insurance protects hosts against third-party claims of property damage or injury of up to $1 million.
AirBnB is widely used in every state of Aus.
It’s up to the owner of the accommodation to ensure they personally are complying with the council and strata by laws.
You would be able to tell if there have been any issues simply by reading the reviews.
Immigration has utterly no interest in your style of accommodation choices. They have much more serious things to be checking on.
If you are uncomfortable with airbnb, then you could try a hostel or a budget hotel in Melb CBD as there are quite a number of options around. If you can’t afford to stay in the CBD, then you can consider staying just outside of the CBD. Many options in Melb for the budget traveler. Are you able to tell us your budget as I’m sure someone from the forum can assist.