Byron Bay council said it would fine residents $6,000 for listing their properties on Airbnb without its approval.
Airbnb’s ‘rampant’ growth, according to the New Daily, is particularly concentrated in Australia’s beachside holiday hotspots, with Byron Bay coping more than its fair share.
Research shows almost one in five houses in Byron Bay are now listed on Airbnb.
“Due to Byron Shire’s popularity as a tourist destination many people now see short-term holiday letting as their opportunity to make money on their property from tourism and in some cases, this can come at a cost to the community,” Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson told News Corp.
The council announced new laws last week which will mean owners will now need to seek approval to use their properties for tourism purposes.
Those who don’t comply risk a $3,000 fine for an individual and $6,000 for a company.
According to Richardson, 17.6 per cent of total housing stock in the Byron Shire is listed online for holiday rental, which is pretty shocking considering Sydney sits at just 1.7 per cent, with the national average sitting at around 0.2 per cent, according to News Corp.
“There are hundreds of approved tourism accommodation providers in the Byron Shire who do the right thing with respect to approvals, safety and compliance,” Richardson said.
“Something needs to be done to protect our community’s right to residential areas that are filled with neighbours not tourists.”
Airbnb’s public affairs manager for Australia and New Zealand Julian Crowley told News Corp that the homesharing company is against the “heavy-handed” new policy.
“It is disappointing that Byron Shire Council continues to try and malign home sharing and the immense benefits it brings,” she said.