Court rules against Melb Airbnb tenants

Melbourne tenants have lost their right to list their rented apartment on Airbnb after an appeal by the owner in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Melbourne tenants who listed their rented apartment on Airbnb broke their own lease agreement by doing so.

Supreme Court Justice Clyde Croft's finding on Friday comes after a battle between the owner of a St Kilda apartment, Catherine Swan, and her two tenants, Barbara Uecker and Michael Greaves.

The fight went to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal after Ms Swan tried to kick the pair out of her apartment because they had listed it as available on the popular short-stay website.

VCAT ruled in the tenants' favour, finding Airbnb listings - for a room or entire apartment - should be classed as a licence, rather than a lease, as guests didn't have exclusive possession of the property.

Ms Swan launched an appeal in the Supreme Court, where her lawyer, Jason Pizer QC, argued listing an entire apartment was effectively leasing it.

The court ruled in her favour.

Justice Clyde Croft found that by entering into the Airbnb agreement, Ms Uecker and Mr Greaves were subletting the apartment and subsequently breaching the provisions of their own lease.

In handing down his findings Justice Croft warned against using this appeal as some sort of test case for the legality of Airbnb in Victoria.

Justice Croft said the appeal was about the particular circumstances of this lease.

Source: AAP

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