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01 September 2017

Changes to restriction on the use of properties for Airbnb

Karen Abey

Senior Associate

The Government has recently implemented a series of changes to overcome some of the planning and building restrictions on the use of properties for Airbnb and other similar services or private arrangements.

In planning terms, the use of your property for paying guests is usually referred to as “visitor accommodation”.  There have been restrictions on the circumstances when a property may be used for visitor accommodation, which vary depending on where your property is located.  For example, in Battery Point, the relevant planning scheme prevents the use of properties for visitor accommodation.

In order to encourage the so-called “sharing economy”, the Government has relaxed those restrictions.  For example, if you are proposing to use your own home with up to four bookable rooms, planning permission is not required.  Read this policy statement to see how those changes may apply to you.  A more detailed summary can be found here.  You may still need to apply for a planning permit.

Changes under the building legislation have also been made.  For example, if the property is your main place of residence with up to four bookable rooms, there are no additional requirements under the legislation before you start to host paying guests.  Otherwise, a self-assessment form should be completed to ensure that the property meets the minimum building requirements for access and fire safety etc.  The requirements are described here.

The use of your property for paying guests may have taxation consequences, so make sure you have proper advice (including the income tax and capital gains tax implications) before you list your property on Airbnb or a similar website.  Also consider whether your current insurance arrangements are sufficient to cover you for this type of activity.

If you have any questions about this topic, please call us to discuss it.

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