A frustrated resident has hit out at the current Australian rental market claiming Airbnb is to blame for the lack of suitable housing.
The anonymous poster shared a photo on Reddit showing an apartment block fence, in an unknown location, with 14 padlocks attached to it. The poster claims they belong to units in the building that are rented out on Airbnb.
"It’s a supply issue they say! Airbnb’s in 1 inner city apartment block, 30% of the building," he fumed. "We could end the rental crisis overnight if we had politicians that actually cared. This needs to end."
These padlocks, or secure boxes, are commonly found at the entrance of Airbnb properties. They house the keys and require a pin code to access them. Having a security box means there's no human interaction, making it easy for property owners to manage their guests.
Aussies' concerns over short-term rentals
Airbnb and short-term rentals have been named as a contributing factor in the housing rental crisis so the photo struck a nerve for many. "The problem being that these apartments are vacant a lot of the time, while people are struggling to find a place to live," one pointed out. "That sucks. Why do we allow this?" wrote another.
"When Airbnb originally started I thought it was a great way for people to make some extra money renting the spare bedroom in the basement, now it's the worst thing out there," a fourth lashed out. Another said they "can’t believe it’s not being banned en masse".
Some were more concerned about residents' safety having strangers constantly roaming through the building. One person said the entire floor in their building is Airbnbs, except for them. "Kind of defeats the purpose of living in and paying for a secure apartment building with a concierge when there are new people in and out every week," they wrote.
Council changes to fix rental crisis
While many buildings' strata laws ban short-term rentals, some councils have already started cracking down on the practice to help solve the housing crisis. Earlier this year, the Mornington Peninsula Shire council, southeast of Melbourne, wrote to property owners asking them to forgo short-stay income in favour of long-term rentals.
At the time, they said there are almost 3000 people in need of housing in the area. 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.
Brisbane City Council had a different approach, and last month, encouraged residents to turn on each other if they were suspicious of neighbours running "pseudo hotels". The aim was to crack down on residents renting out their property for short-term stays on platforms like Airbnb in a bid to end the housing shortage.
"Brisbane currently has a severe housing shortage because not enough homes are being built to meet demand," Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said at the time. He hoped owners would be convinced to "return properties to the long-term rental market so they can be permanent homes."
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