Auckland apartment owners are being warned to check before targeting Lions fans on short-term rentals such as the popular Airbnb.

Joanna Pidgeon, Auckland District Law Society president, said it might not be legal for some apartments to be rented on a temporary basis to the fans because rules - including body corporate regulations - might specifically prohibit short-term occupancy.

"Before seeking to cash in on the accommodation shortage during the Lions tour, apartment dwellers need to consider resource consent/planning issues, body corporate rules, terms of any tenancy agreement and tax," Pidgeon said.

One apartment block chief told the Herald he had heard how some unit owners hoped to receive about $3000 from Lions fans during their stay in Auckland, with those hoped-for funds pencilled in to pay for an overseas holidays.


But he worried about possible damage to premises, security, access to apartments and who would pay if there was damage to common areas such as lobbies, lifts or stairs.

Pidgeon is also concerned.

"People who rent their apartments often have residential tenancy agreements which have a prohibition against subletting their apartments which is what Airbnb is, so they cannot do that without the consent of the apartment owner regardless of what their tenancy agreement says," she said.

"Bodies corporate need to be careful how they balance the rights of a unit owner to quietly enjoy their unit freely with how that may impact on the building and other owners and occupiers in a building.

"Before looking to change rules to prohibit Airbnb in a building, they should seek legal advice as to whether they may lawfully prohibit it in their situation, given unitary plan and related planning requirements and under the rule restrictions in the Unit Titles Act.

"Owners who use their units for Airbnb may also be liable for higher rates. Queenstown Lakes District Council actively targets ratepayers who rent their homes on popular accommodation websites. Auckland Council has a policy that properties which provide short-term accommodation are subject to business rates on the proportion of the value of the property used for business purposes."

24 Apr, 2017 9:00am
2 minutes to read

An Airbnb spokesman said the business often heard how laws governing home-sharing were sometimes unclear and hard to understand.

But overwhelmingly, hosts were everyday owners - mums, dads, seniors and young families - who sometimes listed their spare room to make a modest extra bit of income, he said.

The average income for Kiwi hosts was just $2900 a year.

Airbnb proactively encouraged hosts to think about their responsibilities in advance and requests they seek relevant permissions from landlords, building managers, strata bodies and authorities before creating a listing.

"Airbnb is proud of the positive role it plays in aiding cities meet the demand for accommodation during major events," he said, citing the Rio Olympics last year and Auckland's World Masters Games.

"With the British and Irish Lions tour just around the corner, there's never been a better time for people to consider sharing their space with rugby enthusiasts in town for the 2017 series."