Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Dr RATNAM (Northern Metropolitan) (19:12): (1993) My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, and the action I seek is that she expedites the overdue post-implementation review of the Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Bill 2016. As the world begins to open up, we are seeing an increase in the number of visitors to our cities and regions and an increase in the number of Airbnb and other short-stay guests. We acknowledge the benefit that short-stay platforms offer to residents wishing to rent out their home while they are away. Too often entire properties are turned into holiday rentals 365 days of the year. Home owners and residents who have moved into high- and medium-density living in search of a community can find themselves instead living in a busy hotel. We need to strike a balance, allowing genuine residents to rent out their homes on a short-term basis without letting the short-stay industry run rampant over our communities.
In Victoria we have not got that balance right. Victoria continues to lag behind the rest of the country in properly regulating the short-stay industry. Other states have cracked down on the industry, for example, by capping the number of days a property can be let out as a holiday rental, requiring all hosts to register their properties before they can be listed or allowing owner corporations to make rules restricting the operation of short stays in their building. Some states have even done all the above, like New South Wales, but Victoria has dropped the ball. The only measure we have taken is to introduce penalties for unruly parties or damage caused as a result. The government promised to conduct a review into the operation of the new party rules within two years. But over three years since these changes came into effect we are still waiting, and in that time I have heard that zero orders have been made against short-stay operators under the new provisions.
We are once again facing a rental crisis, which is only likely to worsen as inflation increases. Rents are skyrocketing, up 5.7 per cent in Melbourne since this time last year, and the median cost of renting a house in Melbourne is at a record high of $450 per week. Rents in the regions are not far behind at a median of $420 a week, an increase of a massive 9.1 per cent since last year, and the number of available rentals is plummeting back to the prepandemic level of a 1.6 per cent vacancy rate. But the short-stay industry is booming. Right now there are around 15 000 active short-stay rentals in the city, the majority of which are entire homes. Victoria needs to step up. A good place to start would be to review the current regulation around short stays, including reviewing how effective the short-stay party provisions have been. I ask the minister to release the overdue post-implementation review of the Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Bill 2016.