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Tuesday 13 June 2023

Bans imposed on Airbnb properties

The Malaysian resort island of Penang has become the first major tourist destination in south-east Asia to impose a ban on Airbnb and other short-term rental services.

Situated off Malaysia's west coast, Penang is one of the region's premier tourism destinations.

But following reports of increased noise and bad behaviour by tourists it has imposed the ban after considering such a move over the past 12 months.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Mayor Rajendran Anthony said the ban covered all private residential properties listed on Airbnb and other vacation rental sites.

It exempts existing serviced apartment buildings, although there are some additional restrictions placed on these, including maximum stays of three days per booking and approval from 75% of the other residents in their building.

Properties allowed to continue must be registered and pay annual fees, Travel Mole reported. They are also allowed to be rented for a maximum of 180 days a year.

In response, Airbnb said a recent study showed that three-quarters of Penang residents think renting out homes through Airbnb has a positive impact on their community.

The Penang move follows similar restrictions imposed in Florence, Italy, and in New York City.

In Norfolk, in the UK, planning authorities are calling for new powers to make it harder for properties on the Norfolk Broads and coast to be turned into Airbnbs and second homes.

The Broads Authority (BA) and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) are both urging changes that would mean homeowners would have to secure planning permission to convert the use of their properties.

It comes amid growing concerns about the number of holiday lets and second homes in popular villages, the Eastern Daily Press reported.

It will be interesting to see how many other jurisdictions move in the same direction. In some cities, including Hobart is Tasmania, a public housing shortage has been the result of thousands of homes being used for short-stay accommodation.

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