A person looking for Saturday night accommodation on Booking.com found a bizarre listing that has since sent Aussies into a tailspin with many wondering if people's money-making schemes during the cost-of-living crisis may be going one step too far.
The shocked woman found a tent in a western Sydney backyard next to their red brick home listed for $70 per night for two people or $85 for three. "Just looking at accommodation for Saturday night and came across this "hotel" — a tent in some random backyard..." she said online.
The "outdoor tent" in Doonside comes with a double bed and access to a "shared bathroom". The ad also states there is air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and soundproofing, though these extras cannot be seen in the photos.
Tent accommodation cops backlash
The ad for the controversial homestay was shared on social media and has amassed hundreds of comments from horrified people who can't believe hiring a tent in someone's garden is a legitimate option. "This sh*t can't be real," one person said. "$86 to be cooked alive in a bed of your own juices! F**king hell. Should be taken down by the website as part of quality control," another commented.
Despite the feedback on social media, the listing is rated as a "pleasant" 6.1 out of 10 from 12 reviews on the booking.com website. One July holidaymaker rated it 10 out of 10 saying it was a "great place to stay for under $100." But another in August gave the tent a 1 out of 10 review, saying there is no lock on the door and the room's kettle is on the verandah of the house. Some questioned the authenticity of the reviews.
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Is renting out a tent in your garden legal?
The listing is so odd that many have questioned if it is even legal. "Do they have council approval for a start, [and] who are the people in the house?" one person asked.
Yahoo News Australia spoke to Blacktown City Council who said this listing is "definitely" not legal. "Council will be acting on it," the spokesperson said.
All jurisdictions have their own legislation when it comes to short-term and tourist accommodation. In NSW, short-term rental accommodation (STRA) must be registered and, according to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021, the dwelling must not be a "moveable dwelling" — tents fall under moveable dwellings.
Stories of 'dodgy' short-term rentals popping up across the country
This isn't the first bizarre rental to be advertised in Australia — not even the first this week. A room for rent was ripped to shreds by angry locals after it appeared to be advertised as $140 per week for just one-third of the room.
The Surfers Paradise listing on Facebook Marketplace, displaying a scarce room furnished with three mattresses and two side tables, was described in the ad as a "large room" where "three females can easily fit" but people online labelled the place as "creepy" and a big "red flag".
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