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Renting out the spare room

Short-term rental accommodation, such as Airbnb and other sharing economy options, can be a great way to generate extra income. If you are considering such an idea, before creating an Airbnb listing, you should be aware of your obligations and the potential legal and regulatory issues.

Tax implications

It might only be for “a few days here and there” but the ATO regards money earned from renting out a room for a short period as rental income. This applies to rooms rented by traditional means or by using a sharing economy website or app. Of course this means that you can claim costs but these need to be apportioned properly.

Also be aware that there are likely to be Capital Gains Tax implications when you eventually sell your house.

Insurance

Be sure to inform your home insurance supplier about the arrangements. A failure to do so could result in a breach of contract, voiding the policy. It is important to ensure accidents or damage are not excluded in your home and contents insurance.

You may also need to upgrade your public liability insurance.

Local council

The rules and regulations regarding short-term rentals vary between states and territories. You may also need to seek consent from your local council. Local council planning laws vary widely.

Other issues

Acting as a host can give rise to an assortment of legal problems, especially when you are not around to supervise. Residential apartments used for high rotation short-term lettings can face all sorts of issues such as consumer protections, noise, safety, hygiene and other standards. You should also check that fire alarms, appliances and gas connections are are all certified. Once again, talk this through with your insurer.

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