AirBnb, the most popular peer-to-peer home sharing service – has dominated Australia’s accommodation scene for the last few years. In Sydney, there are 16,149 properties listed, and 420,000 guests were hosted in 2017 alone.
Additionally, a large proportion of tourists, vacationers and stay-cationers are now using AirBnb as their first option, ahead of hotels or hostels.
The continued growth of Airbnb offers new economic opportunities for many landlords and has undoubtedly revolutionised accommodation for customers.
However, all disruptive innovation brings new challenges and risks.
For Airbnb – this risk is fire safety.
Chief Executive of Youth Hostel Association of Australia, Julian Ledger, noted: “Airbnb actually enables landlords to bypass government regulation”. In part, Mr. Ledger was referring to the way Airbnb hosts are not held to the same strict fire safety standards as hostels.
Although AirBnb encourages their hosts to install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, it is common for guests to book an Airbnb, without receiving any proper guarantee for fire safety.
In truth, it’s easy to forget about basic safety when dealing with temporary accommodation, both as a landlord and as an occupant.
The primary cause for this confusion is the current grey area over where the accountability lies. If a tenant causes a fire, but no working smoke alarm was installed – should the fault lie with the host or with the guest?
The answer is not clear, and the current legislation does not seem to address the question.
Thankfully, some states will be updating their Residential Tenancies Act for the first time in many years. With this update, there is expected to be new provisions which specifically govern AirBnb and other peer-to-peer home sharing services.
At Detector Inspector, we believe the remedy is clear. Until new regulations are implemented, fire safety should not be compromised over convenience, laziness or cost, irrespective of where the liability lies.
Remember – working smoke alarms save lives.
Whether you’re a guest or a host, ensure your property has working smoke alarms.
Stay fire safe,
The Detector Inspector Team.