Why would anyone surrender their precious home or investment property for rental when they can make twice as much using Airbnb?
Years ago I had to move to Launceston for work so I rented out my home in Hobart.
I may as well have surrendered it to vandals.
I chose my first tenants by mistake because they said they knew a mutual friend, who despaired for me when she heard who the tenants were.
When I finally got rid of them the property was in a putrid mess.
They had sub-let the garage and left signs of drug manufacturing.
It cost me thousands to fix it up.
Yes I got some of it back on insurance and landlords insurance, but I was the loser.
So I used agents who kept letting me down.
They wouldn't take tenants to court because I guess it would have cost money, and some appeared to be siding with the tenants in disputes. Stockholm syndrome.
I had bad agents and some very good ones.
When I moved back to Hobart my wife and I vowed never to use agents again.
She was burned twice, once by a lovely old lady seeking accommodation, only to find out much later that it was a sting to grab accommodation for her offspring thugs who gave us no end of trouble.
She returned to her home in Sydney.
The most common trouble we struck was tenants who stopped paying rent because they were breaking the lease, thereby forcing us to run down the bond.
The Airbnb industry is facing a tight leash of regulation, judging by a parliamentary inquiry into housing affordability that recommended a freeze on permits in areas of high housing demand and a cap on nights a property can be listed for short-stay accommodation.
The state government is not opposed to these recommendations and why not, because it shifts the blame from government to middle class battlers trying to make a buck.
In the inquiry report, the housing and rental affordability crisis is put down to a dramatic increase in tourism, a dramatic acceleration of population, plus an increase in overseas UTAS students and an increase in short-stay accommodation listings.
The international student factor subsided with the onset of COVID, but is due to surge again
So within the melting pot of factors affecting the housing affordability market, three of the four factors relate to the actions of government.
The small Airbnb industry is getting flogged so that governments at all levels get off the hook.
It is blatantly evident that just as the state government has been caught flat-footed over our road transport congestion, they are just as flat-footed over the accommodation industry.
Airbnb says its market is worth more than $86 million in client expenditure, supports 600 jobs and contributes more than $55 million a year to our Gross State Product, with the clientele growing by three per cent a year.
Why wouldn't I use Airbnb?
Good returns, a greater control over client and property owner behaviour, in that you can publicly rate each other, and I don't lose control of the property, which means I can block out dates when I want to use it.
The tenancy laws have been changed so that tenants have much greater power, which is okay in terms of privacy and autonomy, but landlords are now hamstrung on what options they have when it comes to rogue tenants.
Lets face it; Airbnb is a growing industry because it's popular with both owners and tourists.
It is a threat to the hotel and high-rise accommodation industry because they are not keeping up with growing tourist numbers, plus some hotels have been sidelined to perform as quarantine hubs.
As for housing affordability and waiting lists, thanks to Senator Jacqui Lambie the Commonwealth let Tasmania off from a $150 million housing debt, which I assume would result in between 500 and 600 new housing stock.
In this year's Budget the state government says it is pouring more than $615 million into affordable housing and homelessness, resulting in thousands of new homes over the next six years.
So, there's help on the way, although this government does things at a relaxed pace.
To buy more time I am sure the state government, aided by some councils, will scapegoat the Airbnb industry for the sake of an early cheap shot.
They will demonise us indirectly as greedy predators of the poor, blaming short-stay accommodation as the scourge of the housing affordability problem.
A conservative government, of supposed laissez-faire values, will behave like a rampant socialist government, meddling in the affairs of every middle class battler within its sights.
It will assume that these victims will always vote Liberal and will grin and bear it.
I'm not so sure.
When governments barge into the marketplace, everybody suffers.
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