Media release - Lost opportunity on short-term holiday rental

15 August 2018

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) says it is disappointed the NSW Government did not seize the opportunity to set stronger foundations for a short-term holiday rental market that meets the needs of all: owners, visitors, adjoining residents and local communities.

NSW’s new Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018, which last night passed the NSW Parliament’s Upper House, places a blanket maximum 180-day rental cap in Sydney, but free regional and rural areas to impose their own cap of not less than 180 days.

It also enables Strata bodies to introduce bylaws banning short-term holiday rentals of investor-owned apartments, to prevent year-round letting at the primary purpose of a property.

 LGNSW President Linda Scott said the legislation fell short on delivering a robust regulatory system, with one of the greatest disappointments the Government’s failure to require statewide registration for all short-term rental accommodation.

“A simple registration system for all short-term rental properties would allow data to be collected on the growth and supply of this market; this data could then be used to monitor and evaluate the costs and benefits over time, as well as assist with enforcement of the yet-to-be-developed code of conduct,” Clr Scott said.

“It’s also difficult to have confidence that the new laws will be the ‘toughest in the country’ when we lack detail about the content of the new code of conduct, and how the new supporting planning laws will work in with this code.”

Clr Scott said it is important to recognise this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and recognised the Government had attempted to find a balance between the local economic benefits of short-term holiday letting, and the protection of long-term residents.

“We welcome the fact that councils in regional NSW have some say on the caps, although we maintain that to truly customise the system to individual areas local councils should be able to reflect their community’s wishes by determining specific length-of-stay thresholds,” she said.

“And we also think it is vital that the Government stick to its commitment to review the effectiveness and impacts of the new framework after 12 months.

“It’s then that we’ll be able to get answers on the missing detail, and make changes if the new system isn’t working as promised.

“LGNSW and other groups representing a range of communities will hold the Government to this commitment, and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to try to ensure NSW has a short-term rental system that benefits us all.”

Clr Scott said the State Government may be able to develop a database via the Australian Tax Office, which has announced it will “data-match” information to identify people earning income from short term rentals.

Information to be collected by the ATO includes the owner’s contact details, whether it is a room or whole house listing, number of nights booked and gross rental income.

“This could form the basis not only of a state-wide registration database, but contribute to what LGNSW sees as critical research to monitor the local impact of short-term rental,” Clr Scott said.

“We’re continuing to call for the Government to fund research which will enable NSW to keep an eye on the impact short-term rental accommodation may have on metropolitan and regional housing affordability.

“The last thing we want is the situation which has arisen overseas, where investors buying multiple short-term rental properties drive up prices and keep young people out of the housing market.”

 

Media Enquiries

Toni Allan: 0412 774 441