NSW May Regulate Airbnb-style Short Term Holiday Letting


The NSW Government have released an options paper on short-term holiday letting in response to the growing popularity of services like Airbnb and Stayz.

The options paper comes after the NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning conducted an inquiry last year into the adequacy of regulation for short-term holiday letting in New South Wales.

Short-term holiday letting is estimated to be worth $31.3 billion nationally, providing income for property owners and creating jobs through the establishment of new businesses to manage transactions between property owners and customers.

In NSW, short-term holiday letting constitutes approximately 50% of the national total, accounts for 25% of total visitor nights and occurs in both regional and metropolitan areas.

Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts and Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the aim was to strike an appropriate balance between providing accommodation options for visitors, and the amenity and safety of existing residents.

“The NSW Government [...] is working on the short-term holiday letting issue through this document which, as its name implies, suggests a number of options regarding short-term holiday letting in NSW,” Roberts said.

“The options paper considers alternatives to deliver a better and more effective approach, rather than proposing a single fixed model.

"We will explore approaches to implement a whole-of-government framework and address the relevant land use, planning, and strata management issues."Aside from strata regulation including by-laws managing visitor behaviour, by-laws for compensation for adverse effects and by-laws prohibiting short-term holiday letting, the options paper also suggested short-term letters would have to acquire a license and pay a levy to cover the costs of providing extra security and maintaining shared amenities used by their guests, according to the ABC.

The paper also suggested imposing a time limit on letters, like in New York, where the ABC said it is illegal to advertise an entire unoccupied apartment for more than 30 days.

“We believe that by engaging with those most affected – homeowners, tenants, holidaymakers, neighbours, strata corporations, short-term holiday letting businesses, traditional accommodation operators and local councils – we can achieve the right balance of what level of regulation is required to best meet the needs of the NSW community," Roberts said.

Kean said the emergence of innovative online booking services, and the development of the sharing economy has seen short-term holiday letting grow significantly in NSW.

“This industry has been prominent in NSW for many years and can provide significant economic benefits to local economies and the wider state tourism economy,” Kean said.

“However, we need to reconsider the role of regulation in enabling this activity to continue to take place, without undue impact on existing local communities or visitors.

“It’s very important that we consider all options, which is why we’re welcoming public submissions, as a one-size-fits-all approach to short-term holiday letting may not work.”

Roberts and Kean said the options paper was the next step in determining a policy framework by engaging with stakeholders, industry and the public to discuss what level of regulation was required to meet the needs of the community.

The paper sought public feedback after release and will accept comments until 31 October 2017.

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