Central Queenslanders opt to rent out homes short-term to make extra money

By opening her central Queensland home to visitors for one week, Steph Ruddick will earn more than $9,000.

She will have to vacate the premises, but it is an inconvenience she says is well worth it.

“It’s a lot of work to adjust my home, but the pay-off is too good to pass up,” she said.

With high inflation and less money to put in the savings pot, homeowners are looking at opportunities to rent out their homes and make some extra cash.

For Ms Ruddick, the opportunity came when organisers of Australia’s largest agricultural event, Beef Week, put out the call for Rockhampton residents to rent their homes during the event.

With accommodation limited for the May 2024 Rockhampton event, homeowners can ask a pretty penny.

Woman patting dog in hallway of home

Steph Ruddick says the windfall from renting her property was too good to pass up.(ABC Capricornia: Karyn Wilson)

The average price to rent a home in Rockhampton for the duration of the week has reached about $10,000.

“It was a massive incentive for renting out your house for just a week,” Ms Ruddick said.

“That’s why you are able to put quite ludicrous prices for a house knowing you are going to have serious bang for your buck.”

a woman smiles at the camera.

Sara Meirs says she is fielding strong demand for property.(ABC Capricornia: Karyn Wilson)

Yeppoon-based realtor Sara Miers, who specialises in holiday rentals, said she couldn’t find enough properties to keep up with demand.

“Renting out your property has become more popular,” Ms Miers said.

“I think it all started when COVID was in full swing, and people chose to go north. 

“There was a big demand for holiday accommodation and it just seems to have stuck.”

Ms Miers said people were taking advantage of long service leave or overseas holidays to make money while they were not home.

 “They don’t want their house empty and that helps with the mortgage repayments and rates,” she said.

There is a risk

Despite the extra dollars, experts say welcoming paying guests comes with some risks.

“It’s important to have the right insurance in place first and foremost,” said Kate Davies from the Insurance Council of Australia.

“What people don’t realise is their standard home and contents insurance typically excludes coverage for short term rentals with most insurers regarding them as commercial use of a property or a business opportunity.”

neutral coloured bedroom in Queenslander

Owners are sprucing up their homes to fetch big dollars when renting rooms during Beef Week.(ABC Capricornia: Karyn Wilson)

She said people should make sure they were covered  for accidental or malicious damage, fire or storm damage and coverage for theft which included personal belongings of guests and the owner.

Ms Davies said many online rental companies offered insurance as part of signing up with them, but warned homeowners could find themselves in strife if not properly insured.

“If you’re not covered properly, your claim could be declined which leaves that person financially liable and potentially vulnerable to financial loss,” she said.

“It can be a great cash cow, but you might not be aware of what you are covered for, and you could be up for paying for an insurance claim.”

Tax time

Accountant James Fabbro, from Evans & Hearn, said people who earned money from renting out a property needed to make sure they declared it.

“The Australian Taxation office advises that any income earned from renting out a property, house, unit or room will be assessable income and should be declared as rental income,” he said.

Living room in Queenslander

Steph Ruddick will use the extra money she earns for home renovations. (ABC Capricornia: Karyn Wilson)

“You can then claim deductions for the associated expenses apportioned for the period the property and or room is rented.”

Ms Ruddick said despite the hoops she will need to jump through, the pay day will be worth it. 

“We are looking at renovating the house, so having the extra money coming in is amazing.”

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