Property editor of the NZ Herald

Airbnb could become 'unregulated nightmare' - NZ unit managers

Property managers have raised concerns about Airbnb in New Zealand. Photo / Nick Reed
Property managers have raised concerns about Airbnb in New Zealand. Photo / Nick Reed

An apartment property management group has raised security, noise and property damage issues over the rise of international rental business Airbnb and claimed the potential for an 'unregulated nightmare' without tougher rules.

But Airbnb has hit back, saying its system is built on trust and it has more than 16,000 New Zealand listings.

Joanne Barreto, Auckland-based Strata Community Association (NZ) president, called for more local regulations to govern Airbnb here because of the potential for issues to arise - and apartment owners and managers could be hardest hit.

"Complaints regarding noise, property damage and the flow on effects of high visitor traffic in residential complexes have long been on the radar of local property leaders, and they are calling for it to be addressed in law," Barreto said.

"The biggest day to day concern put forward by owners is the threat short term letting poses to building security. We are aware of instances where theft has sprung up from owners leaving swipe cards and keys in letterboxes for their Airbnb guests," Barreto said.

But Airbnb indicated it was well aware of the potential for issues but it had systems in place to ensure success.

"To help keep our community safe and trusted, we've published standards and expectations for all of our hosts and travellers. Airbnb also shares further information for hosts to consider, including how to work with landlords.

"Overwhelmingly, our hosts share only the home in which they live, earning a modest income.

"Airbnb also offers host protection insurance, a liability insurance program that will provide up to $1 million worth of protection to Airbnb hosts for their listings. If a guest is accidentally injured anywhere in a host's building or property during a stay, the host protection insurance programme provides coverage for Airbnb hosts and, where applicable, their landlords. Hosts won't need to take any action to be covered under these policies - they are automatic for every stay at a listing," the business said.

Barreto said the Government needed to look at Airbnb.

"In the absence of laws for its use, local industry leaders are concerned that Airbnb will become an unregulated nightmare for strata owners to deal with," she said.

"Strata property owners are the single biggest stakeholder group for Airbnb's use and the peak body for this group is adamant their priorities for regulatory action need to be heard," Barreto said.

"Decision makers in Government must be committed to hearing the challenges short term letting poses for strata communities, before law reform glosses over the point entirely. Property is the biggest asset you will ever have, period and we are very strong on the point that the assets of strata property owners must be protected by firm, fair regulations," Barreto said.

Britain's The Independent reported last month that Berlin banned tourists from renting entire apartments through Airbnb and its competitors, in an attempt to protect the supply of affordable housing.

The New York Post has reported how most Airbnb listings violate the state's short-term leasing law.

- NZ Herald

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