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Short-term letting has been in the news again recently, with Brisbane City Council announcing in its budget that it would be raising the rates surcharge on short-stay accommodation properties from 50 to 65 per cent.

Following the rating change last year, council has identified 780 properties that have been put onto the transitionary accommodation rating category.

Council says the surcharge has seen property owners pay an annualised increase on their rates of about $700,000 in the 2022-23 financial year.

This comes as a Queensland government commissioned investigation into short-stay accommodation nears conclusion and is expected to lead to further reforms – the Brisbane City Council launching its own taskforce into the sector.

Councillor Fiona Cunningham, who heads up the task force looking into short-stay accommodation in the city, said “everything’s on the table” as Council considered further reforms. She indicated legislative changes would be needed from the state government.

“The Planning Act is difficult for local governments to enforce when it comes to the short-stay accommodation sector,” she said.

“Additionally, the Body Corporate and Community Management Act makes it difficult for bodies corporate to regulate different types of residential use.”

Ms Cunningham said the council’s task force wanted to hear from property owners, body corporates and short-stay accommodation companies, such as Airbnb.  

“We’re determined to strike a better balance between our city’s need to have short-stay accommodation and limiting the impacts on residents,” she said.

“We’re not alone in this challenge. Jurisdictions around Australia and around the world are grappling with this very same issue.”

Ms Cunningham’s comments align with those of Hartley’s Body Corporate Management Managing Director Simon Barnard who recently returned from the Community Associations Institute Conference in the United States where he was part of an international delegation, that included delegates from Europe, South America and Asia.

Interestingly delegates from those regions all raised short-term letting as one of the key issues impacting the sector in 2023 / 2024, with all remarking on the difficulties in attempting to regulate short-term letting and the impacts it can have on their communities.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner recently suggested the new task force could lead to changes such as capping the number of days a property can be leased, or even outright bans on short-term accommodation in some areas.

What this shows in our view, is that reform regarding how short term letting is regulated is inevitable.