Short-term holiday letting in NSW will have “tougher but fairer” regulation from 2019, after the state parliament passed the Government’s plan for the industry yesterday.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the short-term holiday letting reforms bolster NSW’s sharing economy while clamping down on unruly guests and allowing owners corporations to pass by-laws banning commercial holiday lets in apartments where the owner is not present during the let.
“Our plan is a win-win. It acknowledges the huge financial contribution online booking platforms make to the NSW economy, but also takes a zero-tolerance approach to raucous guests,” Mr Kean said in a press release.
The NSW state government’s law is a massive step away from what they had planned to introduce before a backbench revolt earlier this year. Mr Kean had originally proposed no limit on the number of nights that units could be let and no ability to pass by-laws restricting commercial lets. However, a revolt in Government ranks saw a 180 degree turnaround at the last minute, literally, as a planned Press conference had to be hastily abandoned. Later the Minister announced the country’s tightest restrictions on commercial holiday lets in residential blocks.
Mr Kean said NSW Fair Trading and industry stakeholders were developing a new Code of Conduct to manage noise levels and disruptive behaviour. The mandatory Code will come into force next year, and will apply to online accommodation platforms, letting agents, hosts and guests across the State.
“Under our ‘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, and be listed on an exclusion register,” Mr Kean said.
However, it has been noted that the 30-strong committee set up to devise the code of conduct contains only two representatives of residents’ groups – the rest are all from the holiday letting industry. And even then, claims Owners Corporation Network spokesman Stephen Goddard, the Airbnb representative there complained that other stakeholders had only been allowed one representative each.
Mr Kean went on to announce in his press release that amendments to the Strata Schemes Management Act are also being made so owners’ corporations can pass by-laws to ban short-term letting in their block, in units where the host is not present, provided they get a 75 per cent majority vote.
“I’ve asked NSW Fair Trading to develop ‘what you can and can’t do’ guidelines to help owners’ corporations set rules that suit their strata schemes,” Mr Kean said.
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said new state-wide planning rules would come into force next year, detailing how many days a year properties could be let.
“It’s great to see these sensible reforms pass through Parliament, giving certainty to the industry, and to all involved,” Mr Roberts said.
It will be interesting to see what “advice” Fair Trading gives strata schemes on holiday lets as its track record of late in arbitrarily setting rules that have turned out to have dubious legal foundations doesn’t inspire much confidence.