20 MARCH 2020

Apartment residents across Australia are angry that their buildings could be turned into high-risk viral hot-spots, as Airbnb hosts offer self-isolation packages to returned overseas travellers.

Airbnb hosts globally are reeling after a dramatic downturn in visitors due to travel restrictions and an Airbnb decision to waive cancellation fees for stays booked up to April 14 and possibly beyond. As a result, some hosts are compensating by offering special “self-isolation” packages – including stays in apartment blocks.

And this, say apartment residents, undermines the whole concept of isolation. Bored and frustrated, potentially infected guests might not stay strictly within their short-term rentals, bringing them into direct and indirect contact with residents.

“This is a very high-risk development,” said Jane Hearn, deputy chair of the Owners Corporation Network, the peak body for Australia apartment residents, in an email to the Minister for Better Regulation’s office.

“It increases the viral load on apartment owners and tenants and it defeats the public health strategy,” she said.

Pro-apartment resident campaigners in Victoria WeLiveHere have also demanded that the Victorian state government ban self-isolation in short-term apartment lets.

> Full article on Australian Financial Review
Jimmy Thomson