Questions over short-term letting

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THE NSW Government is seeking public feedback on short-term holiday letting (STHL) such as Airbnb and Stayz following the recent release of an Options Paper as figures for the Tweed Shire reveal a high number of short-term rentals.

The Options Paper follows an 18-month NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into short-term letting that was held in Tweed Heads last year. The inquiry recommended that short-term letting be allowed when a host is present and that properties without a host present could be rented for a set number of days per year.

Tweed Shire Council told the Parliamentary Inquiry they estimated there are more than 2,000 short-term rental properties across the Tweed Shire.

Figures from the Inside Airbnb website, which provides data on Airbnb listings estimates there are 359 Airbnb properties in the Tweed Shire area where 253 are entire homes/apartments.

On average these properties rent for $182 per night and have an 18 per cent occupancy rate. Of these properties 91 per cent or 326 properties have high availability, meaning these properties are available for more than 60 nights per year and most likely being used as ‘businesses’ rather than renting out spare rooms for additional income.

Surprisingly more than one third (34.5 per cent) of all listings are rented by a host with more than one listing, although this figure does include hosts who have separate listings for multiple rooms within the same home.

A search of the most popular hosts found one who has 12 listings across the Tweed Shire, another with ten all in the Kingscliff/Casuarina area, a host with nine listings in Kingscliff, another with seven on the Tweed Coast and three others who have four listings each.

There are concerns from within the community that the number of short-term holiday rentals are reducing the amount of  long-term rentals as the vacancy rate for the Northern Rivers in June remained low at 1.7 per cent, up from one per cent three months prior.

The State Government disagreed and said in their Options Paper, “the limited evidence currently available suggests that the impact of STHL on rental availability is negligible,” the report reads.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts said potential options the Government is seeking views and comments on include:

  • Industry self-regulation, including a code of conduct, complaints management, education, monitoring and reporting.
  • Strata regulation, including by-laws managing visitor behaviour, by-laws for compensation for adverse effects and by-laws prohibiting STHL.
  • Planning regulation, including development approval, limiting of length of stay and number of days per year, limiting by number of bedrooms and regulating by whether host is present.
  • Registration to manage safety and amenity issues.

“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,” Mr Roberts said.

The paper is now available for public feedback for a three-month consultation period until October 31, after which the NSW Government will consider submissions and decide what regulatory approach it will pursue for short-term holiday letting.

For more information, and to make a submission visit http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/STHL