Housing activists from Grassroots Action Network Tasmania (GRANT) have used the final days of Dark Mofo to highlight the impact of short-stay accommodation on Hobart’s rental crisis.
Many Airbnb’s are only a few doors down from one another, showing the concentration of short term stay accommodation proliferated around the city as many Hobartians remain homeless, sleep on couches or in vehicles, or find themselves unable to locate affordable accommodation that is safe and appropriate during winter.
“We have a beautiful winter festival nearing an end right now that has seen all accommodation in the city and around the south of the island completely booked out. As Airbnbs now start to see vacancies as tourists leave, these houses will continue to be unavailable for Hobartians to rent as they remain as short term stay accommodation. It is a cruel fate to know that while Hobart is able to accommodate thousands of tourists here for a two week festival, locals are left to sleep rough, in cars, and on couches year round.” said GRANT member Amy Booth.
“While having a presence out the front of these Airbnb’s we had many locals thanking us, and even pointing out all the other short stay rentals in their neighbourhoods. Their sense of community and belonging is lost when forced to have new neighbors each time a guest arrives, and many can feel less safe when they don’t know who will be living next door each day. This is one of the many reasons we will continue to draw attention to this issue.” said Booth.The rental crisis is being felt across Australia, but is particularly pronounced in Hobart which is one of the least affordable places to live as a renter in the country.
“It is encouraging to see that short stay investors now have to pay a higher rate on their properties in the Hobart City Council area, but much more that needs to be done” said Booth. “There are apartments and townhouses that are charging more than five hundred dollars per night for people to stay in, which means many Airbnb owners will simply be profiting slightly less, whilst these homes are unable to be on the rental market and house Hobartians long-term. We need to see a ban on whole home conversions across residential areas. We can’t see any more residential homes be turned into hotels. Enough is enough.”