Dunedin Airbnb owners sent council letters urging compliance

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People who operate short-term accommodation, such as Airbnb, will receive notices from council about their responsibilities.

Owners of short-term accommodation such as Airbnb have been sent letters from the Dunedin City Council.

On Tuesday, people who may be renting their properties as short-term accommodation were sent letters urging them to check their compliance with council.

Property owners who advertised accommodation on sites such as Airbnb, Bookabach and Bachcare had certain responsibilities under the District Plan and Building Act, council community services manager Simon Pickford said.

He confirmed to Stuff a list of 150 properties had been supplied to the council by the Otago Motels Association, which “wanted a level playing field”.

Those owners might be letting rooms, or their entire property, which may not be compliant, he said.

The letters come just days after the city hosted pop star Pink, with many people renting out rooms in their homes, Pickford said.

It was too early to say if Dunedin would have a different rating category for these type of accommodation providers, but the city was focused on the regulatory aspect first.

Owners needed to let the council know if they were temporarily or permanently letting an entire house for short term visitors, had a self-contained living area for short-term visitors, or were letting rooms to more than five guests in their own home.

If a property owner fell into one of those categories they would need to apply for a resource consent, and potentially a building consent.

He said sites such as Airbnb were “disruptive technologies”, which had an effect on the rental property markets, and that impact needed to be part of a bigger question addressed by council.

The council’s website said anyone who listed an entire home via short-term accommodation would require resource consent, similar to motels, hotels, homestays, serviced apartments, backpackers and hostels, and that could attract a commercial fee.

The Building Act required the owner of a building to advise council if they proposed to change the use of a building, and each affected property “needs to be assessed on its specific circumstances”, the website said.

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