The NSW Government is about to introduce a new regulatory framework for Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA). In essence, the government is planning to allow homeowners the right to rent their properties for a maximum of 180 days per year. Byron Shire Council is requesting an exemption to this and, if it is allowed, will be able to restrict rentals to 90 days.
The STRA industry was estimated to be worth $31.3 billion nationally in 2016. NSW alone made up around half of that figure. Sydney ranks as one of Airbnb’s top ten cities for most properties on the platform, and Byron Bay would be one of the main hubs in regional Australia.
Other Places, Other Plans
Many cities and towns have been trying to find a way to manage Airbnb for some time, most notably high-visitation destinations such as Barcelona and Venice. London has already introduced a 90-day per the calendar year limit on Airbnb rentals for residential homes where the owner is absent. Philadelphia has passed legislation specifically enabling people to share their homes for up to half a year. Hamburg in Germany has also restricted Airbnb, but not if the house is a primary residence. That means that if you are still a resident of the dwelling, you are able to rent out rooms unrestricted.
Code of Conduct
There will also be new rules in a code of conduct for owners and tenants. Kevin Anderson, NSW Minister for Better Regulation, explained, ‘The mandatory Code of Conduct will facilitate oversight of STRA providers, including providing for the resolution of complaints and disputes regarding the conduct of hosts and guests.’
The code will establish a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy. Hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the code within two years will be banned for five years. Platforms and letting agents will not be permitted to offer services to any person or any dwelling listed on the exclusion register. A strike will include any behaviour which unreasonably interferes with a neighbour’s quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their home.
Guests will have to ensure their behaviour does not unreasonably impact on neighbours and will be required to take reasonable care of the property. Both Airbnb and Stayz have generally welcomed the registration proposal. Although Airbnb states that the registration is process is costly and complex. Byron Shire is yet to finalise its position. More info on Byron Council’s position can be found here.
More information on the Code of Conduct for STRA can be found on the Fair Trading website at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
If you are an Airbnb host and want to make a submission you can do so here.