The Municipal Associations of Victoria (MAV) – the umbrella body for all the local government bodies in the state – has called on the state government to impose restrictions on short-term holiday letting (STHL), as typified by Airbnb.
In particular, it wants the State government to crack down on the number of nights a year that STHL properties can be let in areas where residential accommodation availability and affordability are most under threat.
A motion passed at its bi-annual council meeting in May said: “that the MAV advocate for more effective and uniform State Government legislation in relation to short-stay accommodation, including AirBnB, to alleviate amenity impacts, and to consider limiting the amount of time in a given year whereby dwellings can be rented out on a short-stay basis in areas where housing availability has been identified as a particular issue.”
The motion was originally proposed by the council from Port Philip, a coastal strip of Melbourne south of the city’s CBD, stretching from Southbank to Elwood, and taking in St Kilda.
Some supporters of the restrictions want a profit-based tax to be imposed to help finance low-cost housing to compensate for the loss of rental properties in the city. They also want to charge STHL operators higher rates for providing monitoring and security patrols to curb antisocial behaviour.
One critic quoted a police report that more than 50 holiday let properties have been referred to VCAT, the Victorian tribunal, under the “three strikes” rule for antisocial behaviour, but no action has been taken
Melbourne community group We Live Here, Strata Community Association (SCA-Vic) and the Owners Corporation Network (OCN) recently joined forces to try to change Victoria’s laws to moderate the damage caused to strata schemes by unfettered short-term rentals.