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New regulations to make short-term rentals more appealing to investors

A 25-year veteran of the real estate industry has predicted the short-term rental market may prove a more attractive option for property investors and urged real estate professionals to recognise its importance.

Scott Mackey built a 400-strong rent roll at RE/MAX Precision in Bundaberg but sold it this year to further expand his short-term rental (STR) business, incorporating Airbnb, which he began two and a half years ago.

Speaking at a Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) event in Brisbane this month, Mr Mackay said market demand shifts in response to how people are living in properties.

“I saw changes occurring in the investment and property management scene well over two and a half years ago, but the triggers that set things in motion in my own business were significantly the demand from customers in terms of what and how long they wanted to rent, and the new regulations affecting the property management industry that were filtering in from other Australia states such as Victoria,” he said.

And while many are not happy with Queensland’s proposed new rental reform laws which were mooted last week, Mr Mackey said the short-term rental platform may prove a more attractive option for property investors given the new regulations.

“STRs have a more simplified process when it comes to booking start and leaving dates, and extending dates, in comparison with tenancy agreements while still having the risk covered for property owners,” he explained.

“Owners can be clear and upfront about conditions of renting, such as no pets, no modifications.

“An STR property listing can nominate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for pets, which can suit property owners who are adamant they don’t want pets in their property, as is the case with almost all hotels.

“A potential guest/tenant profile is available through reviews of the guest and their performance during previous stays.

“This insight is valuable and allows us to ask for more information or decline the guest and wait for another.

“People occupying properties are paying greater amount of money upfront, and overall, there is more flexibility for both the property owners and the renters who seek short stay situations.”

He said most properties were fully furnished and self-contained and in tourist areas, CBDs and popular wedding locations.

“Short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb, are fulfilling many different needs from visitors coming into an area for work, family commitments, health reasons or travel,” Mr Mackey said.

“In many cases these people prefer to be self-contained and in a more home-like environment than a traditional hotel or motel room.”

Mr Mackey uses the Airbnb platform to co-host with the landlords.

“The Airbnb host guaranty protects hosts for up to $1,000,000, but we do recommend homeowner or landlord insurance in addition.”

He suggests the new rental laws will have an impact.

“I fear many landlords will see their fundamental rights eroded under these reforms, making the more traditional property investment model less appealing,” Mr Mackey said.

“However, it may have the positive outcome of some turning to professional short-term rental arrangements where their investment is secure and a growing need is being met.”

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