AIRBNB: Preliminary university survey results on Airbnb effects.
AIRBNB: Preliminary university survey results on Airbnb effects. Christian Morrow

Renters lose homes to Airbnb survey shows

EARLY results from a university study looking at the effects of Air BnB in the Byron Shire reveal that tenants are being forced out of long-term accommodation as landlords decide to list their properties on Airbnb.

Of the roughly 800 who took part in the Southern Cross University survey conducted last year, 223 lived in rental accommodation. Ninety of these had recently been asked to leave their homes so landlords could list the properties for STHL. 58 said they knew the property was being listed on Airbnb.

Of this 90 forced out, 25 had to leave Byron Shire completely to find affordable accommodation with a further 31 having to move to another town within the shire to find a home.

The impact of Airbnb and other such letting sites is already becoming an issue in the upcoming state election with the Berejiklian Government last week handing back, to Byron Shire Council, some measure of control over the length of time homes can be let on these so called sharing sites to 90 days down from the original 365 days.

The impact of Airbnb in the shire in far reaching with local NSW Approved Accommodation Accord citing figure sourced from online monitoring site BnBGuard that last year revealed the number of total unique STHL addresses across the five postcodes of Byron Shire is up to 5611. BnB Guard is only monitoring 15 of the 350 sites offering properties in the Byron Shire.

Roughly 150 of respondents to the SCU survey had been an Airbnb host themselves within the last 12 months and 50% of these indicated the money from hosting had allowed them to afford to live in Byron Shire. But 77% of respondents believe Airbnb had a negative effect on the availability of affordable housing, 75% said Airbnb leads to increased traffic and parking congestion and 71% agree Airbnb leads to extra costs being placed on ratepayers to provide infrastructure.

Of the 772 who responded to the question regarding their preference of number of days they would like to see properties available for STHL with on-site management present, 62.75% wanted them available for 180 days or less. If there was no on-site management of the property 66.19% want STHL available less than 90 days including almost 39% not wanting those properties available at all without on site management.

Researcher Dr Sabine Muschter said the SCU team were more than willing to share their results with Byron Shire Council to use in their response to the government's Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill.

Dr Muschter said SCU was also interested in co-funding research with other accommodation industry groups to build a further understanding of the STHL industry on the North Coast.

According to monitoring site Inside Aibnb, as of last Tuesday there are 2,929 properties available on Airbnb in the Byron Shire with 2306 being entire homes or apartments.


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