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Airbnb reforms in spotlight as housing fight rages on

Incentives and taxes are being deployed amid the shifting ground for short-term accommodation providers across Australia.

Incentives and taxes are being deployed amid the shifting ground for short-term accommodation providers across Australia. Photo: TND/Getty

The Greens are calling on the federal government to put limits around short-term rentals like Airbnb to boost supply and take pressure off rents.

Leader Adam Bandt said people were struggling to find accommodation in places like Byron Bay and Melbourne with everything being rented out on sites like Airbnb.

“There have been proposals around how long you could potentially lease it out for, whether or not people should be entitled to tax breaks if they’re not providing rentals that are a proper rate for locals,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Mr Bandt said if the government moved to regulate Airbnb, then it could move to regulate rents through a freeze and cap on increases.

“If we really want to fix the problem, then government has to look at soaring rents right across the country as well as in those places where it’s biting hard,” he said.

He denied freezing rents would spook investors and diminish supply by sending landlords towards Airbnb and short-term renting, where they can charge higher rates and have fewer responsibilities towards tenants.

“I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen because we need to have regulations that apply across the board,” he said.

“People should be able to afford to rent a house, this is not a big ask.”

The Greens agreed to pass Labor’s signature $10 billion housing investment fund this week after securing $3 billion for social and affordable housing on top of a $500 million yearly investment floor from the fund regardless of the return it makes.

But they failed to secure a rental freeze, something that state and territory governments have ruled out.

Mr Bandt said the party would make it a key election issue, as it woos the one-third of the nation that rents, especially in more progressive inner-city seats.

– AAP

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