Higher rates policy for short stay properties heads for state government

October 27, 2022 BY

The City of Greater Bendigo has convinced councils to back its push for commercial rates to be applied to properties listed on Airbnb and other short stay sites. Photos: UNSPLASH

PROPERTY owners who list their homes on short stay accommodation sites could face higher rates under a proposal that will be presented to the state government.

The City of Greater Bendigo (CoGB) policy was approved by a vote of 76 to 36 at last week’s state council meeting of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the peak council lobby in the state that will now advocate to government for its implementation.

“The MAV asks the State Government to allow properties that are listed on accommodation sites like Airbnb to be rated as commercial properties rather than residential properties and supports councils to easily identify these,” the CoGB motion stated.

Bendigo Mayor Andrea Metcalf said there was broad agreement from fellow councils that there needs to be a new way of managing the short stay accommodation industry and although the motion was passed, there was “considerable” debate around whether her council’s proposal was the best approach.

“There’s a lot happening in this space…there’s conversations happening across NSW and Queensland, as to how long properties can be on Airbnb,” she said.

“We would expect MAV to write to the state government asking them to change the differential rate for Air BnB properties’, this is what councils want.

The Municipal Association of Victoria will ask the state government to implement a higher rate category for short stay accommodation properties.

“I would hope they take this up relatively quickly, and though I’m not sure how the state election will play into it, it will ultimately be something for whoever gets into government to decide on.”

A spokesperson for the Borough of Queenscliffe said it did not support the proposal and already charges property owners who list on short stay accommodation sites 110 per cent of standard residential rates.

The City of Greater Geelong was not present for the state council meeting but had previously stated it was yet to form a position on the CoGB motion.

The Surf Coast Shire’s executive manager of strategic projects and partnerships Damian Waight said council understood the intent of the motion, “with the Surf Coast certainly feeling the impacts that short-term holiday accommodation has on housing affordability.”

“However councils can implement their own differential rate type for holiday rentals without needing Victorian government support, therefore Surf Coast Shire abstained from voting on this MAV state council motion.”

Cr Metcalf said the task of council’s individually having to identify properties that are listed on short stay sites was too onerous for local governments and would be better managed through a state government policy decision.

“There’s no point if we increase the rates but it costs us more to identify the properties than we raise in rates,” she said.