The Tasmanian Fire Service says the unregulated nature of the short-term accommodation market in the state poses a significant public safety risk.
TFS community fire safety director, Sandra White, on Wednesday told a Legislative Council inquiry hearing on the sector there had been 38 lives lost in formal short-term accommodation during bushfires over two decades.
"It is through a lack of appropriate regulation and appropriate fire safety standards that TFS believes will inevitably lead to what is considered an avoidable loss of life," she said.
"The crux of TFS's concerns centre on short-term accommodation within the sharing economy.
"Short-term accommodation that is not regulated, or inadequately regulated as the case for the sharing economy, is placing the community and firefighters at risk."
Ms White said regulations applied to bed and breakfast accommodation properties needed to be applied to all properties listed on short-term accommodation websites.
This would include smoke alarms in every bedroom, an evacuation plan, illuminated evacuation pathways and hallways, and clear exit paths.
TasCOSS told the inquiry it wanted the number of planning permits issued for visitor accommodation in residential dwellings to be monitored.
Policy manager Charlie Burton said the organisation also supported giving councils the power to withhold the issuing of permits.
Councils have limited powers to act on short-term visitor accommodation within the shared economy in their jurisdictions as the government’s planning directive on the matter overrode planning schemes.
Ms Burton said although growth in short-term visitor accommodation had filled gaps in visitor accommodation as a result of tourism growth, it had occurred at a time of historically high unaffordability and low supply of housing, particularly for renters.
She said the organisation believed short-stay accommodation bans in specific areas should be made available to all councils should they determine there is a need to do so. Tasmanian Hospitality Association chief executive Steve Old said the body supported the sharing economy but there needed to be a level playing field with traditional accommodation providers with similar requirements and regulations applied to both accommodation forms.