Brisbane City Council is asking its residents to dob in neighbours secretly renting out properties on sites like Airbnb after a rate hike was enacted three months ago.
In July, the council doubled the rates of short-term rentals advertised on sites like Airbnb, Stayz and Booking.com.
An average short-stay landlord would have to pay an additional $985 a year under the scheme.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner told The Courier Mail that the council was not looking to profit from the rate hike but hoped it would encourage landlords to return their property to the long-term housing market.
“Brisbane currently has a severe housing shortage because not enough homes are being built to meet demand,” Mr Schrinner said.
Vacancy rates in the capital city are at a record low of 0.7 per cent according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.
“We want this new rating category to convince owners to return properties to the long-term rental market so they can be permanent homes.
“I’d be happy if this new rating category didn’t raise a single dollar.”
Owners have been asked to self-report to council by registering their short-stay property on the council website.
Now the council is also asking residents to report properties they believe may fit the criteria for the rate hike.
The average price for a one-night stay in Brisbane is $350 on a weekend and $305 on a weekday.
Hosts could therefore cover the average annual rate increase of $985 in just two or three single-night bookings.
The Transitory Accommodation rate hike applies to an entire property used as short-term accommodation for more than 60 days a year.
It does not apply to properties renting out a spare room.