Greens’ plan to crack down on Airbnb could free up thousands more homes, while Labor’s levy would do very little

Australian Greens

A Victorian Greens’ plan to introduce strong short-stay regulations across the state could free up thousands more homes for people to live in, according to a new report.

Ahead of next month’s State Budget, the Greens have been calling on the State Labor Government to introduce short-stay regulations to help fix the housing crisis, including:

  • An annual 90-day limit on entire-home short-stays
  • A mandatory public register for short-stay properties
  • Powers for apartments buildings to ban or limit short stays

Labor has already previously indicated it intends to introduce a 7.5 per cent levy on short stays, however, according to a new Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report obtained by the Greens, for most property types this levy would only make a “marginal” difference to property investor behaviour, while revenue from the levy would only build around 100 homes a year, a tiny drop in the ocean in the housing crisis.

Conversely, the PBO has said the Greens’ plan for a 90-day cap could see more than 13,000 Airbnb properties enter the long-term market straight away, as the reform would push investors to seek alternative uses for their properties, like making them available to long term renters or selling to owner-occupiers.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said the worsening housing crisis was pushing countless Victorian renters into housing stress and homelessness, and that Labor was letting down Victorians in housing stress by refusing to act now to fix the crisis.

She said the upcoming State Budget was an opportunity for Labor to stop tinkering around the edges and introduce the reforms needed to free up thousands more homes.

The Greens have said they’re prepared to enter into good-faith negotiations with the government ahead of the Budget, but won’t support reforms that will see the housing crisis get worse.

As stated by Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:

“If Labor thinks they can keep getting away with doing the bare minimum on housing, they’ve got a fight on their hands.

“While Labor tinkers around the edges, rents in Victoria are at an all-time high, homelessness is at crisis levels and a whole generation has given up the dream of being able to afford their own home.

“We need bold reform to fix the housing crisis, not smoke and mirrors.

“This State Budget, the Greens are urging the Treasurer to introduce strong short-stay regulations, which would free up thousands of homes as long-term rentals.

“If they refuse to act to get more homes onto the long-term housing market, Labor’s going to have a tough time getting our support for legislation that will only see the housing crisis worse.”

As stated by Victorian Greens renters’ rights spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri MP:

“Property investors are hoarding homes to use as hotels and make exorbitant profits on Airbnb while renters struggle to find a place to live.

“Across Victoria 48,000 entire homes are on Airbnb. This pushes up property prices, locks out first home buyers and takes homes away from renters.

“Major cities around the world – like Berlin, Amsterdam and London – have introduced caps on Airbnb to stop investors from snapping up homes just to put them on Airbnb – it’s time for Victoria to do the same.

“The Greens’ plan would free up more homes for renters and owner-occupiers, and help fix the housing crisis. The question is whether Labor will come to the table or continue to make this crisis worse.”

/Public Release. View in full here.