A public options paper recently published by the NSW Government addressing short-term holiday letting proposes a crackdown on accommodation services in NSW such as the popular Airbnb website.
Airbnb is a marketplace to list or discover accommodation around the world starting with single rooms and expanding to villas and castles.
At present Australian law treats Airbnb differently based on the state that the property is located in. In NSW short-term holiday letting is regulated by the local councils. The Laws that currently regulate home sharing in NSW are outdated and cause confusion as they were developed before platforms such as Airbnb existed.
While the NSW Airbnb community has been expanding rapidly online, it is the community concerns and grey areas in the laws and regulations that have caught the Government’s attention.
The NSW Government lists some of the main concerns surrounding short-term holiday letting as being strata issues in apartment buildings, noise, party houses, waste and parking concerns.
The Government suggests that options to regulate the short-term holiday rental industry include:
- Licencing and levies;
- A Code of Conduct; and
- Placing limits on things such as how long guests can stay for, the days per year the property can be leased and the number of bedrooms offered per property
These proposals are among many options presented by the NSW Government in the recently released options paper.
The Government has not stated which of the changes are going to be implemented but confirms that they are committed to regulating the industry and tackling community concerns.
It is interesting to look at the regulatory approach to Airbnb in other Australian states. In states such as Tasmania, Qld and Victoria they are not looking to implement the same stringent regulatory framework.
Tasmania has been the most welcoming of states and territories, opting for an ‘open-door’ policy giving home owners the right to lease their properties short term as long as they are meeting the safety standards.
There are concerns that the options the Government are considering do not factor in the impact on tourism or the amount of money that Airbnb injects into the economy each year.
The difficult question to answer is how does the Government find a balance to provide for the people renting out their properties short-term as well as protecting the neighbours’ and communities’ rights? The NSW Government, public options paper, is available for public consultation until the end of October.
Link to report: