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'A holiday season like no other' – A crash course on how COVID has changed short stays in strata'

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Are you planning to let your strata property out on Airbnb Strata this summer? You might want to do your homework. Like everything it touches, the year 2020 has shaken up things – and the short stay holiday market is no different.

Since the introduction of Airbnb and the share accommodation economy kicking off, the short stay market has been big news for strata property residents.

It’s popularity in recent years has thrown a few spanners in the works for communities regarding by-laws, security and health and safety, and this year offers a great example of these challenges.

As we head into summer, you’re going to want to be up to speed on what challenges to look out for.

Here’s a recap on what you might have missed…

  • Airbnb rolls out new cleanliness rules to combat COVID
  • Airbnb on October 7th announced mandatory COVID-19 safety practices for all of its properties worldwide (excluding mainland China) to help slow the ongoing spread of the virus.

    As of November 20th, all Airbnb hosts—and guests—will be required to adhere to mandatory enhanced cleaning procedures as well as social distancing and mask requirements.

    Seems the guide to hosting needs to be rewritten!

  • As Australia opens up again, bookings are spiking
  • Areas out of lockdown like Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, home to Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra, registered a big spike in Airbnb bookings in June and July, as Australians emerged from the first national lockdown. Sunshine Coast Airbnb bookings in June even surpassed 2019 levels.

    What will happen in major cities like Melbourne and Sydney as Australia continues to move in the right direction?

  • Party houses kicking off worldwide
  • Host Compliance, which gathers data on short-term rental properties in more than 100 cities in the U.S., found a 250% spike in complaints about party houses from June to September, compared with the same period last year.

    So, what does it mean for you as an owner, owners corporation or community member?

    At Ace, we’ve put some ‘lessons’ for owners on paper to help navigate this ever-changing environment ahead of the peak holiday period.


    1. Cleanliness is key

    If required, the COVID safe plans in your communities extend to all visitors, not just residents, so it’s worth reviewing whether your current plan embraces the presence of short term rental accommodation and an influx of visitors.

    Airbnb has done a big part of the job by setting new standards for guests and indeed hosts, but it’s only part of the job.

    To ensure you’re compliant with community and local laws, you’ll want to be sure there aren’t any gaps you need to fill.

    Before the holiday season kicks off, talk to a strata manager or legal expert about getting the most up to date advice on short stays and laws in your local area. Each state and territory differs so it pays to talk to an expert.

    2. Communities need a plan for short stays

    With overseas travel unlikely for some time, and Australians encouraged to ‘holiday at home’ in the near future, there’s no excuse to not have a plan for managing short stays.

    What plans are we talking about? Policies for the practice of short term letting in your community, resources for owners who want to host, committees to ensure there’s a platform for voicing short stay issues in the community – they’re all things that can be initiated to get your community back in control of this evolving space.

    Consider talking to a strata manager about whether you need special Airbnb Body Corporate by-laws and policies for short strata living in your community or whether local laws cover your bases..

    3. Parties must be curbed

    Get serious about party houses. Restrictions on social gatherings are changing by the week and it’s not going to help your community in the middle of a health crisis to have a surprise 40 strangers congregating in a property.

    Ultimately, it comes back to the short stay hosts active in your community. How are key handovers being done? Are guests met in person or is it contactless through lockboxes without any sight on the party as it enters the premises?

    Understand where the gaps in your community’s armour is and create strategies to manage this threat to community safety.

    Seeking further information?

    If you wish to discuss any strata community matters further with an Ace Body Corporate Manager, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page and locate your nearest Ace manager for a chat.

    Please note the above information is not specific advice and should not be relied upon as such. This information is deliberately general in nature.

    Ace Body Corporate Management
    Disclaimer: This is not advice and should only be referred to for general information purposes. Strata management contracts often vary, so we recommend you contact your local Ace manager for more information, or seek expert legal advice. This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients, however we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.