Airbnb suggests ‘three strikes law’ to regulate short-term rentals

KUALA LUMPUR: In light of calls from the hotel industry to regulate short-term rental accommodations (STRA), Airbnb has also proposed various guidelines to complement the government efforts towards crafting the regulations.

This includes the implementation of a “three strikes law” where an individual's registration as an Airbnb host would be revoked following repeated acts of noise and nuisance, says Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Public Policy head for South-East Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“Here, if a host has reports of an act of noise or nuisance occurring three times, they will be put on an exclusion register where they will not be allowed to host anymore,” she told a media briefing on the short-term homestay platform’s STRA regulations here on Tuesday (June 20).

This was already being done in California, United States and New South Wales of Australia, she added.

Another proposed guideline was to allow compensation models for strata residence neighbours affected by misbehaving guests.

“In the state of Victoria, Australia, financial compensation can be made directly to neighbours in strata buildings that are negatively impacted by short-term rentals,” she said.

This was in addition to fines being imposed against errant STRA guests, Goh said.

She said an exclusion register was also proposed, citing how it was implemented by the New South Wales government.

“This comprises a list of hosts and guests who are excluded from participating in STRA due to non-compliance to the state’s code of conduct.

“The code of conduct there is legally binding, causing those under the exclusion register to no longer be involved in the STRA ecosystem,” she said.

Goh said the suggestions were sent to many different government agencies, including Plan Malaysia.

Engagements with the government have been held since several years ago, Goh said, adding that it was important for the industry to be regulated.

“It, however, must be done in a way that is balanced and effective, where it does not restrict Malaysia’s long-term tourism goals,” she said.

On complaints towards disruptive guests, Goh said complainants could contact the platform’s hotline.

“Firstly, we try to ascertain whether there was a reservation on the Airbnb platform at the time of the complaints.

“If yes, we will call the host to ensure they nip any challenges in the bud,” she said, adding that hosts were usually very responsive towards any complaints.

Goh said it was also possible for both STRA and hotel sectors to coexist together.

“We’ve always said short-term rentals should be regulated which is why we are always involved in federal-level discussions on what STRA guidelines will look like.

“With that being said, the tourism pie is big enough and reached a stage where guests are looking for different kinds of accommodations depending on the time of trips they are making,” she said, citing the example of remote workers who need washing machines, work desks and high speed Internets which are available in short-term rentals.

“The same goes for families travelling in larger groups who want their living and kitchen space,” she said, adding that there were also some hotels listed on Airbnb.

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