Latest News

Government supports short-term rentals

Prompted by the collapse of a balcony in Yamba – at a house being used for a short-term rental in an area zoned where not permitted without consent – Clarence Valley Council has published a reminder in its weekly ‘block’ advertisement. “Council reminds property owners that using their dwelling for short-term accommodation could be contrary to zoning regulations for their area,” it stated. “Before allowing short-term accommodation in dwellings, owners should contact council’s planning staff to discuss their circumstances and to determine whether they need to lodge a development application.” Meanwhile, the NSW Government is on the verge of freeing up the use of houses in residential zones for short term rentals, following a parliamentary inquiry: Adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in New South Wales. Reflecting on the submissions put to the inquiry, the report observed that “the views we heard from stakeholders were polarised”. “Many people supported an easing of rules governing short-term letting as a way to grow tourism and broaden ways to earn income from under-utilised assets,” the report states. “Others saw short-term letting as an impost in residential areas, and as having an unfair advantage over traditional accommodation providers whose costs and obligations reflect their commercial status. “There was general consensus, however, around the need for a consistent definition of short-term letting within planning legislation.” In its response, the government wrote: “The emergence of online booking services and the development of the sharing economy has seen short term holiday letting expand significantly in Australia and overseas. “Internet platforms generated new marketplaces for short-term holiday letting, benefitting consumers and providers lowering transaction and accommodation costs, and providing opportunities to earn income from unused assets; and broadening economic benefits of tourism. Of the committee’s 12 recommendations, the government supports three of them: the government prepare advice to councils and the community, with councils being responsible for “communicating with all landowners about their rights and obligations”, and that the government “considers amendments to the strata regulations to give owners and corporations more powers to manage adverse behaviour resulting from short term letting.” The government gives qualified support to each of the other nine recommendations, which will require changes to state legislation and local environment plans before implementation. The NSW Government will be releasing a consultation paper on potential regulatory approaches to short-term holiday letting in the near future, the response document states.