Airbnb denies worsening housing affordability by soaking up residential properties for tourist accommodation, and its co-founder has said governments need to accept that his company’s business model is here to stay.
The home sharing website’s co-founder Joe Gebbia is visiting Australia, in part to try and smooth regulatory hurdles that have threatened to stifle the company’s growth in Australia.
Despite having more than 40,000 listings in News South Wales, including about 25,000 in Sydney, the state has yet to pass specific laws governing Airbnb rentals, leaving it up to local government regulations that differ from area to area.
Other states have recently introduced regulations governing Airbnb, with the company citing South Australia and Tasmania as jurisdictions with what it described as “fair” policies.
“The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going back in,” was Mr Gebbia’s blunt message to policymakers.
“So how do you work together to come up with fair and balanced regulations?
“We believe in regulations, as long as they’re fair and balanced.”
A key area of contention is around the rights of neighbours, particularly in apartment blocks, when Airbnb guests are noisy or create mess in common areas.
Many residents are also concerned about the safety implications of having large numbers of guests passing through their neighbours’ homes.
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