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31 March, 2021

Easter cash windfall risky business

With reports that Australians are raking in astounding incomes through Airbnb, the Easter long weekend seems the perfect opportunity to build up cash however Queensland body corporate professionals say even though it is tempting, it will pay off tenfold to check the laws set for your building.

Stephen McCulloch, the Cairns Partner at Archers the Strata Professionals, said Airbnb in Queensland is governed by many different sets of local government zoning laws with some councils imposing expensive planning approval requirements for short-term letting or fines for non-compliance.

“It may seem very tempting to Airbnb your home and earn some extra money over the holiday, however a lot of people aren’t aware that in many Queensland regions you can actually be faced with a substantial fine if you rent out a residential apartment that is not legally zoned for it.

“With this also comes security and complaint issues which can arise with short-stay apartment rentals and concerns property owners and owner-occupiers. This includes unauthorised building access, robberies, rowdy parties, and disturbances,” Mr McCulloch said.

Mr McCulloch adds the fear of security and thefts linked to short-term holiday bookings, and reports of security breaches caused by keys and fobs being left out unsecured, can often cause strain between neighbouring unit occupiers.

“As body corporate managers, we encourage property owners to seek professional advice on improving the security in their apartment complexes that have recently added short-term letting availability. Bodies corporates can help these issues by making buildings more secure with on-site security, surveillance cameras, lift access fobs and restricted entry.

“We understand Easter is the perfect time to take advantage of our ability to travel, but if you are thinking of renting out your apartment while you are away, we strongly encourage you to first find out if your apartment is legally zoned for short-stay, and if it is, think of your neighbours.

Mr McCulloch said last month Airbnb launched an Australian support line where frustrated neighbours can expect to get a call back from an agent within 10 minutes or less.

“To save yourself dealing with this stress while you are away, it would be helpful to leave apartment rules for your guests. A simple list should include how to properly use the barbeque, encourage the noise bylaws, and explain the building rules around smoking, parking, garbage, pets, and parties etc. That way you can enjoy your holiday without home trouble and return to happy neighbours,” Mr McCulloch said.

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