What to know before using your home as a holiday rental


Queenslanders have been warned to consider the risks before listing their home as a short-term rental for extra income.

Sun room of a beach holiday house

According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) almost 500,000 Australian hosts have listed their property on short-term holiday rental platforms, like Airbnb, since 2016.

RACQ General Manager Insurance Product and Distribution Rosalind Searle said if a property or its contents were damaged by short-term tenants it may not be covered by the homeowners’ insurance.

“It’s crucial before homeowners enter one of these arrangements, they assess all the risks and know exactly what they are or aren’t covered for,” Ms Searle said.

“If you’re an RACQ member, for example, our current policy does not cover a home that is entirely used for short-term rentals and holiday letting such as Airbnb, Stayz and booking.com.

“However, there may be exceptions if the property is permanently occupied by the insured and they’re renting out a room in the property or if it’s being used for Airbnb while the owners are on holidays.

“Homeowners should also be aware that although home insurance includes public liability coverage, the commercial activity of short-term holiday stays may mean some claims won’t be covered.”

ICA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Hall said they were aware of hosts returning after short-term paying guests had left to find their house stripped of possessions or significantly damaged.

“Short-term renting is a legitimate and attractive activity that turns many homeowners into short-term landlords, but it’s vital that they do this properly and have insurance cover for the
unexpected,” Mr Hall said.

The ICA also suggested homeowners could investigate specialty policies for short-term rentals.

What to do before listing your home as short-term rental:

  • Ensure property is safe and secure.
  • Check their building and contents insurance policy details prior to advertising on short-stay holiday rental platforms.
  • Remove valuables to reduce risk of theft.
  • Check strata rules, tenancy agreements and local council laws because these may prohibit short-stay holiday rental.

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The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.