With summer holidays right around the corner and COVID restrictions easing across the country Airbnb bookings in QLD have even surpassed 2019 levels.
This article provides information on current and upcoming requirements for hosts and advice for bodies corporate in managing short-term letting in their communities.
Short-term letting Updates in 2020
Airbnb’s Mandatory Covid Practices
In October Airbnb announced mandatory COVID-19 safety practices for all of its properties worldwide (excluding mainland China) to help slow the ongoing spread of the virus.
From November 20th, all Airbnb hosts—and guests—will be required to adhere to mandatory enhanced cleaning procedures as well as social distancing and mask requirements.
The procedures and requirements can be found here.
Hosts will be prompted to commit to these guidelines and have until Nov. 20 to comply or could be subject to warnings, suspensions and even removal from the site. Guests must agree to the guidelines when booking listings.
Airbnb’s Ban on Parties
Airbnb announced in August a global ban on all parties and events at Airbnb listings, including a cap on occupancy at 16. This party ban applies to all future bookings on Airbnb and it will remain in effect indefinitely until further notice.
Guests will be informed about Airbnb’s party rules and informed that they may be legally pursued by Airbnb if they violate our policy.
According to reports, Airbnb has suspended hundreds of listings across Australia as part of its crackdown.
You may have heard in the news about a so-called Airbnb code of conduct in which the NSW government recently announced a “two strikes and you’re out (for up to five years)” penalty for either the principal guest, the hosts or the property who breach the code of conduct.
Repeat offenders would be listed on a register and online letting agencies would not be allowed to promote premises run by badly behaved hosts or accept booking from blacklisted guests
This relates to NSW only and does not affect short-term letting practices in QLD.
Short-term Rentals in QLD
In QLD, body corporates cannot ban or restrict short-term rentals. While the body corporate oversees and maintains the common property and parts of a lot, it cannot dictate how owners choose to let out their buildings short term.
This is supported by the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 Subsection 180(3) which states:
“If a lot may lawfully be used for residential purposes, the by-laws cannot restrict the type of residential use.”
This section has been consistently interpreted by adjudicators’ that the body corporate is not empowered to prohibit short-term letting through a prohibitive by-law. By-laws are meant to regulate, not prohibit.
However, body corporates can and should set guidelines to protect the common property and encourage property owners to mutually agree on their maintenance and peace-keeping so that their short-term letting activities cause as little disruption as possible.
Local Planning Laws
Hosting Airbnb’s may be against the local government’s planning rules and would subsequently be technically illegal.
However, most local councils have been very reluctant to interfere in this space.
QLD Covid Requirements
Short-term rental accommodation in QLD that features shared bathroom or shared kitchen facilities must have a health management plan and operate in compliance with that plan.
Providers of short-term accommodation facilities without shared bathrooms or kitchens must ensure that the occupant density is:
- no more than one person per 2 square metres (up to a total of 50 people) for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or less; or
- no more than one person per 4 square metres for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or more; and
- Keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days and deleted after 56 days.
We urge all residents to heed Public Health Order recommendations and to adhere to social distancing requirements as seriously as possible.
So, what can the body corporate do?
There are a couple of things bodies corporate can do to ensure their scheme’s by-laws can assist as much as possible in managing short-term letting activities.
- Reviewing the by-laws to ensure they contain appropriate measures for regulating problems commonly associated with short-term letting, such as noise, illegal parking, overcrowding and overuse of shared facilities.
- Ensure the by-laws provide that lots must only be used for purposes which comply with the local authority’s Planning Scheme.
Stratacare can assist your committee to conduct the process of reviewing and preparing appropriate revisions that strengthen your scheme’s by-laws.
Resolving issues from short-term letting
Whether it is the holidays or not, everyone has the right to a peaceful, safe and secure strata living environment. If short term letting activities are causing you problems, you can lodge a complaint with your committee or body corporate manager, and they assist you with taking the necessary actions.
Need further info?
If you wish to discuss any short-term letting matters further, please do not hesitate to get in contact with a Stratacare body corporate manager.
Please note the above information is not specific advice and should not be relied upon as such. This information provided is general advice.