Thousands of Aussie holiday home owners asked to rent to homeless

A Melbourne council is encouraging those with holiday homes to forgo short-stay income in favour of long-term rentals to help the homeless who've been impacted by the rental crisis in Australia.

The Mornington Peninsula, south-east of the city, is a popular holiday hot spot year-round, but the touristic appeal of the seaside wine region has contributed to the housing crisis, the council argues.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire revealed there are almost 3000 people in need of housing in the area and in a meeting on Tuesday, the council agreed to put down $20,000 to help resolve the issue, it's been reported.

Mornington Peninsular, Melbourne rental home
Homeowners in Mornington Peninsular, Melbourne, are being asked by the council to rent out their holiday homes to the homeless long-term. Source: Getty

They will write to property owners asking them to consider putting their houses on the rental market immediately, as opposed to listing them on platforms like Airbnb.

Real estate agents will also be asked to help spread the word, the Herald Sun reported, in a bid to provide housing for families in need.

Councillor Despi O’Connor, reportedly took aim at agents and landlords and argued that rental prices based on property value rather than mortgage repayments is a "money-making rort" and it's driving renters into homelessness.

Another noted that many homes in the area are used by landlords just a couple of weekends a year, so they could be better suited to tenants without a place to live.

"That would be ideal," Cr Sarah Race reportedly said.

Council initiative could end homelessness

According to the council website, over 1.6 million people stay overnight when visiting the Peninsula each year. This makes the area the third largest short stay rental accommodation destination in Australia, they said.

A law was introduced in 2018 which saw those wishing to list their property as a short-stay rental having to register to do so. They're also required to pay the council $300 each year and are required to follow a code of conduct.

According to the Herald Sun, there are 2900 properties currently registered, so the council's initiative could very much help eliminate homelessness in the area.

But some councillors apparently argued against the plan saying that landlords "shouldn’t be expected to surrender that asset to the will of the community."

Arial view of Mornington Peninsular, Melbourne
The area south-east of Melbourne city is a popular tourist hot spot which has on average 2900 listed holiday homes. Source: Getty

Housing affordability nationwide issue

Over the course of the pandemic, the Mornington Peninsula experienced some of the biggest jumps in rent nationwide, according to data by CoreLogic shared by The Guardian.

But other states, including Queensland and New South Wales, are also facing the same fate and are experiencing higher than normal rental prices.

Many families have been forced into tents and priced out of some areas which has not only impacted the housing market but has had a profound effect on local businesses too.

"Housing affordability is arguably the most pressing issue right now affecting communities across the state," Local Government NSW President Darriea Turley AM said earlier this year.

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