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Could it happen here? Australian agents specifically ban Airbnb sublets

Reports from Australia suggest some of the country’s leading letting agencies have inserted clauses into their tenancy contracts to ban Airbnb sublets and similar platforms from renters.

Although many Australian contracts already prohibit sub-letting – as they do in this country – some have been modified to specify more explicit bans on short-lets via internet platforms, which landlords say create more wear and tear on their properties.

One lease, cited in news broadcasts by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, says the tenant must not use Airbnb without the “written consent” of the landlord in each instance.

Candice Deane, a letting agent in Melbourne, says this clause gives landlords more protection. “Security and maintenance are the main issues, and if we approve that tenant, we want that person to be the person in the property,” Ms Deane told the ABC. We discourage [sub-letting on Airbnb]. We don’t motivate it and we don’t want it to happen” she told ABC.

Deane said in one case, she discovered a tenant was renting out an apartment on Airbnb while they were away on holidays.

“She was leaving keys in the mailbox for people to come and collect. So quite a few of the other occupants got really concerned about keys being left, who’s getting them and what’s going to happen to her apartment. She was asked to leave” Deane said.

In another instance, a Melbourne tenant was making thousands of dollars a month by hosting Airbnb sublets full time in a rented apartment.

Malcolm Gunning, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, told ABC that agents had been forced to take more control over sub-letting.

A spokesman for Airbnb in Australia said all people had a right to share the home they lived in, regardless of whether they were an owner or tenant.

“Home sharing helps everyday Australians earn a little extra money to pay for their biggest expense — the cost of their housing,” he told ABC.

“We ask all hosts to certify they have permission to list their space and remind them to check and follow local rules before they list and throughout the year. A tenant who shares a spare room whilst they’re living there or the whole home whilst they’re away on holidays is actually a good use of their home.”

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