Room to make a bit extra money

TWEED residents are making as much as hundreds of dollars a night by subletting a spare room, or even a whole house, via popular website Airbnb.

Like a cross between Gum Tree and Facebook, Airbnb lists homes or spare rooms for rent to holidaymakers and uses personal profiles to vet potential guests and hosts.

The site has a wide range of listings focusing on "home away from home" experiences and has properties in more than 37,000 cities - including 600 castles.

Tweed Heads retiree Phil Male listed three spare rooms in his family home, two for $80 a night or $100 a night for an ensuite room, and has had six bookings since Christmas.

"They have been a mix of couples from Australia, China, from Japan ... some staying for a couple of nights and others up to a week," he said.

Mr Male said he enjoyed picking the tourists up from the airport, taking them on a short tour if he had the time and lending them his push bikes.

"It's interesting having other people in your home ... there's a time when you have a beer or a cuppa together and talk and I think, 'This is just fantastic.'

"I like to travel, they like to travel and they're paying me to have a good time."

In Tumbulgum, Jane Rennie-Hynen has been so happy with her riverside investment property she is considering buying a second home on Tumbulgum Rd, just to list on Airbnb.

Her stylishly furnished home commands $1500 a week, three times the amount it would get through a real estate agent, and is currently leased out monthly to a couple looking to buy in Murwillumbah.

Ms Rennie-Hynen promotes the Margaret Olley Art Centre on her Airbnb profile and said farmers with properties that potentially share a boundary with the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail should consider the website to make an additional income.

"If people have got a spare room in their house and you have cleaned it and you don't mind people staying, it's a great way to earn extra money," she said.

"They'd be mad if they didn't."

But not everyone has a success story. In hopes of extra cash, Ian Talbot and his partner have listed a $95 a night room in their Crystal Creek mud-brick home after several positive experiences using Airbnb in Victoria and South Australia. It is yet to receive a booking.

A Tweed Shire Council spokesman warned that Airbnb was subject to the same local government controls as any other holiday letting in the region.

How much per night?

Tweed Heads: granny flat $116, rooms $40 to $100

Banora Point: $90

Kingscliff: room $69, caravan $70

Chinderah: room $106

Pottsville: room $81

Tumbulgum: river house $220

Murwillumbah: room $96

Uki: country house $251

Stokers Siding: room, with breakfast $111



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