Not wanting to rain on anyones parade but renting units by the night on Airbnb is illegal in Sydney and many other areas of Australia.
I recently read about a Court in New York declaring that Airbnb is illegal in that city and that Airbnb were going to help their host who had been fined for running an illegal hotel.
Short term renting of residential accommodation is also illegal in Sydney for similar reasons – when you start to rent out your flat night by night then you have effectively opened a hotel along with the additional noise and disturbance for neighbours that comes with that – early morning noise, late night noise and never ending cleaning.
We discovered this to our cost when our new neighbour in Woolloomooloo started to rent out his flat nightly on another service, Stayz – whose hosts have been having their own legal problems, and we had to complain a number of times including 3 nights running having never had cause to complain in over 2 years. On the third night, a different person again opened the door and explained that they were only there for the night and had booked using Stayz. The following day we asked our landlord what we could do and he said – 1) it is a breach of their lease so you could complain to the body corporate who manage the block and 2) no one in Sydney is allowed to let out their unit for less than 3 months as doing so is a breach of development law. We called City of Sydney and one of their officers contacted the owner of next door the same day.
Airbnb falls under the same law as Stayz, as City of Sydney said:
“… your neighbour cannot apply to use the premises for short term rentals by lodging a DA. The residential part of the building is approved for residential only and this cannot be changed.
Condition 129 (a) of development consent D/1996/00591 reads: “The development must be used for permanent residential accommodation only and not for the purpose of a hotel, motel, serviced apartments, tourist accommodation or the like, other than in accordance with the “Residential Development Policy for the City Centre, adopted 12 August 1993″.
The owners were advised that the unit will have to be owner occupied or occupied by a tenant with a residential lease under the Residential Tenancy Act, 1987”.
* I understand that a lease of 3 months or more would be legal.
I work in digital and I’m a massive fan of Airbnb and other sites like them but in this case I’ve been on the wrong side of an inconsiderate host – and it made us want to move out of our own unit.
Update 12 June 2013 – the debate rages in Melbourne after party flats ban overturned.
Update 20 January 2014 – Hosts may lose most by opening homes to holidaymakers – the SMH reports that those renting their units can be fined within City of Sydney.
Update 26 May 2014 – Prestige unit owners angered by short term lettings to tourists – SMH reports on more dissent caused by short term lettings vs permanent residents.
Update 28 July 2014 – Does using Airbnb invalidate your buildings insurance? – Yes it can in the UK.