. BE WARY OF MESSAGES THAT LOOK LIKE THEY’RE FROM AIRBNB

All legitimate payments on Airbnb take place through its website. Ifsomeone messages you on Airbnb and asks you to contact them off-siteto arrange payment details, or to send your phone number or emailaddress, they could be trying to rip you off. This is against
Airbnb’s rules and you can report people who ask you to do so by Airbnb’s rules and you can report people who ask you to do so byflagging the message.Look for the small flag icon in the message thread. Airbnb gives someexamples of common scams on a page devoted to keeping your account* ADVANCE FEE: a type of scam in which an individual offers money oranother reward in exchange for you transferring money through variouspayment services outside of Airbnb.* PHISHING: a type of scam in which someone will send an email orlink that is made to look like it’s from Airbnb or another trustedsite. These messages are designed to trick you into providingconfidential information – such as passwords or other emailaddresses – and may contain malware that can gain access to yourcomputer to gather your personal information, including passwordsand/or credit card data.* TRAVEL: a type of scam in which someone will encourage you tosecure your “too good to be true” listing by sending payment viawire transfer or with an advanced deposit in order to collect themoney without providing the advertised accommodation.* OVERPAYMENT: a type of scam in which someone will offer more thanwhat your listing may be worth, and ask you to repay them in cash.

IS AIRBNB LEGAL IN AUSTRALIA?



Posted September 13, 2016Web-based sharing sites and apps like eBay, Uber and AIRBNB haverevolutionised the way in which we use and sell goods and services.Rather than a straight transaction with a seller and a buyer and nointermediary, these sites do not sell anything at all. Rather, theyintroduce a person wanting to sell with a person wanting to buy. Theparties then conduct the transaction between themselves. Thesedisruptive matchmakers are currently testing the limits ofAustralia’s existing legal and regulatory framework. This article
unpacks the different facets of the way our current laws are falling unpacks the different facets of the way our current laws are fallingshort of interfacing with the new breed of disruptors, using Airbnb com.au as an example.

NEXT STEPS



Would you like to get in touch with Emma about this topic, or ask usany other question? Please fill out the form below to send Emma amessage!* First Name** Last Name** Email Address** Phone Number* Message** NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.Name This field is for validation purposes and should be leftunchanged. This iframe contains the logic required to handle AJAXpowered Gravity Forms. Meet Our Lawyers com.au McKnight com.au FOCUS: Asset Leasing, Business Structuring/Start Ups, Employee ShareOptions Plans, Loans (Secured, Unsecured And Convertible), Online Law

OTHER REGULATORY ISSUES



There are also numerous other regulatory matters that round out theconfusion. Mostly, they involve a lack of regulation in areas suchas:* Food, health and safety regulations;* Fire or disability access regulations; and* The requirement for public liability insurance.***What do you think about Airbnb’s current ambiguous legal status inAustralia? Let us know your thoughts on LegalVision’s Twitter twitter.com

TAX AVOIDANCE



Airbnb arrangements have also come under fire with the AustralianTaxation Office (ATO). This heat was due to the fact the sharingeconomy lets people operate “commercial arrangements”, which canbe used to evade tax, including Capital Gains Tax and GST.Technically income earned from an Airbnb short-term holiday let must
be declared to the tax office, but many avoid this obligation, which is easy to do without a firm regulation of the industry.

DOES IT GO IN MY TAX RETURN? 



The Australian Taxation Office’s published view is that renting outyour property via the sharing economy is no different to moretraditional methods, and hence the income needs to go in your taxreturn. The only exception the ATO see is if you were to offer theproperty below market value – say as a favour to family or a friend– and you ask to claim a loss for tax purposes. The only other circumstance that could potentially fall outside thisinterpretation is where rooms in a share house are on AirBnB just torecover costs while their regular occupants are on holidays etc. Thisis very common among 20-somethings paying Sydney rents!

VSC



com.au considered whether Airbnb was a sublease or licence. In this case, alandlord, Ms Swan (landlord), owned a two bedroom apartment inMelbourne (apartment) which she leased to the tenants Uecker & Greaves(tenants) in August 2015 for a 12-month lease (lease).The tenants then listed the apartment on Airbnb to third party guestsfor short-term stays. The landlord upon discovery initiatedproceedings because the tenants had sublet the apartment unlawfully tothird parties without the landlord’s consent.At first instance, in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal(VCAT), it was held that the tenants only granted licences rather thanleases to the Airbnb guests com.au As such, the VCAT ruled that the tenants had not sublet the apartment.However, the Supreme Court overturned the original VCAT decision,deciding that the tenants had let the whole apartment and that it wasa sublease rather than a licence. This sublease was considered abreach of the tenant’s lease which prohibited subleasing.This case considered the narrow issue of subleasing and that thelandlord’s consent was required. It did not consider whether Airbnbitself was illegal. In fact, a test case may be difficult given thediffering laws between Australian states and territories and withinlocal government areas.

SO HOW DOES IT WORK?



Both hosts and guests start by creating an Airbnb profile. If you areplanning to host you then add details of the accommodation you wish tooffer.Accommodation options currently offered on Airbnb range from rooms inprivate home with shared facilities through to sole use of a castleand everything in between.The price for the accommodation is set by the host and Airbnb add aservice fee to every booking.

. KEEP ALL COMMUNICATIONS AND PAYMENTS ON THE AIRBNB SITE



Airbnb redacts phone numbers, email addresses and URLs in messages,but scammers have found sneaky ways around its filters, such asposting images with text superimposed. Don’t go to any sites suchscammers try to get you onto: they could well be rigged to plantmalware or steal your credit card information or login. Follow_Image of kitten with mouse shutterstock.com * Airbnb Trust and Safety Team sophos.com





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