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Sunday , December 17 2017

Peer-to-peer home lending restrictions in Queenstown

Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) announcement and vote to amend its District Plan, restricting the number of days some houses can be used for short-term peer-to-peer lending through sites such as Airbnb, may go a long way to improving rental affordability and shortages for workers in the region.

“We have for some time been concerned with the unregulated rise of peer to peer lending in areas where there are strong tourism numbers, demand for employment and worker accommodation, so these changes are welcomed”, says Rachael Shadbolt, general manager for hospitality New Zealand.
The changes will introduce a cap of 28 days per year for rental of visitor accommodation in outer residential areas and 90 days in central areas before a person would require a resource consent to exceed these.
“The greatest concern we get from our members in the Queenstown region is the shortage of staff available to meet growing visitor demand. The unemployment rate as of June 2017 in Queenstown was 1.8 percent. So, with a growing demand for tourism related activities there is a need for more people to move into the region to service visitor’s needs. Businesses find that staff are willing to move to the region, but finding accommodation is becoming near impossible.” she said. “If these restrictions go some way to freeing up houses for the long-term rental market it will take serious pressures off businesses in the region.”
The report commissioned by QLDC from Infometrics shows Airbnb occupied 14% of the District’s housing stock in the June 2017 quarter.
“While much of the industry accepts that peer to peer accommodation is an important part of the tourism offering in New Zealand. We also believe there needs to be better regulation of the peer to peer accommodation sector, to bring it more in line with the regulations commercial accommodation provides must adhere to.”
“Commercial accommodation businesses in New Zealand have strict regulations around fire safety, building compliance, and health and safety to name just a few compliance requirements. Unfortunately, it is unlikely the majority of peer to peer accommodation providers would comply with these. If peer to peer operators are operating in a commercial capacity they should be abiding by the same rules”.
“The issues facing infrastructure and demand on amenities in Queenstown is more focused than many regions of New Zealand, but we also see similar issues of peer to peer accommodation expanding out into other regions as well. We congratulate QLDC on taking action before the issue becomes more acute.”

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