Holiday home crackdown
THEY'RE a holiday life-saver for some, neighbourhood headache for others, but everyone can now have their say on short-term holiday letting like Airbnb and Stayz.
The NSW Government has released an Options Paper on the issue and is asking for community and stakeholder feedback as they plan the next steps in the most effective ways to respond to the explosion in the popularity and use of the accommodation services which are now worth an estimated $31-billion nationally.
The plan is to strike an appropriate balance between providing accommodation options for visitors, and the amenity and safety of existing residents.
Among the suggestions are strata regulation. The paper includes implementing by-laws to manage visitor behaviour and give owners corporations an avenue for compensation for damage caused by holiday tenants.
There is also a plan for industry self-regulation, including a code of conduct, complaints management, education, monitoring and reporting.
It has also been suggested that short term holiday letting properties should have development approval, and the paper also suggests restrictions could be put on the number of days per year a properties can be leased to holiday makers.
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts said at this stage, many of the more restrictive proposals are simply options.
"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."
"We believe that by engaging with those most affected - home-owners, 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."
Director of corporate and government affairs at Stayz, Jordan Condo believes some of the ideas being floated could have a major impact on regional short-term holiday letting.
"The NSW Government must not forget that short-term rental accommodation injected $2.1 billion into the economy last year, much of it in regional NSW," he said.
"Holiday homes are the lifeblood of many regional towns and cities, but the government has ignored regional constituents in their response. The options paper does not distinguish between someone renting out a beach or bush holiday home from someone renting out a room in an already leased property in a city strata apartment."
Of Stayz's 17,500 listings in NSW, 85% are in regional areas.
"Why should someone who owns a beach shack and has for decades leased it out to others when not using it themselves suddenly be handed a bunch of red tape and financial burden for providing accommodation in the parts of NSW where it is needed the most? It does not make any sense and it's not evidence-based policy making."
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean said the government does realise the short-term holiday letting industry can provide significant economic benefits to local economies and the wider state tourism economy.
"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."
The paper is open for public feedback until October 31, after which the NSW Government will consider submissions and decide what regulatory approach it will pursue for short-term holiday letting.
Submissions can be made at planning.nsw.gov.au/STHL.