Housing crisis

How Australia is handling airbnb, Stayz in a housing crisis

As more Australians struggle to find accommodation and the cost of goods and services soar, local and state governments have directed their considerable legislative arsenals at short-term accommodation providers.

Some councils have raised rates for properties listed on platforms such as airbnb and Stayz, while state governments have capped the number of days such properties can be rented out as holiday accommodation.

Here is the latest information on the rules governing the use of properties for short stays in Australia.

WA always decides, councils take action

Broome homeowners who plan to rent their home through an online platform will need to register with the city council.

Broome Shire council pledged to make changes last month as part of a new planning scheme, which is still awaiting approval from the state’s planning minister.

Under the previous program, the county did not have the ability to approve short-term rental properties to operate in areas marked for residential use.

But the new scheme gives the council the power to license properties in residential areas as long as landlords apply for permission.

Broome Council said it had decided to make the financial operating environment fair for all accommodation providers in the town.(ABC News: Andrew Seabourne)

The council’s argument was that people who operated resorts and hotels paid higher rates, while people who operated short-term rentals had “no constraints around them”.

Further south, local laws passed by the city of Busselton imposed a nighttime curfew on customers and prohibited leaving pet dogs unattended.

The rules are part of the second stage of regulatory changes that give the city the power to delist vacation homes that don’t follow the new code of conduct.

It also requires property managers to respond to public inquiries within 12 hours.

Vineyards in the Margaret River region.
Margaret River’s wineries attract many visitors and the town of Busselton is set to regulate the number of short-term accommodations offered in the area.(ABC Southwest WA: Anthony Pancia)

The code of conduct for holiday home visitors was finalized in April and included a limit on the number of guests after 10 p.m.

It also required owners to post a sign with the manager’s contact details visible from the street.

The town of Busselton governs the popular tourist areas of Dunsborough, Yallingup and parts of Margaret River.

The WA Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries is studying the implementation of a new statewide registration system for short-term accommodation.

Online booking platforms and short-term accommodation providers are consulted.

Queensland councils raise rates

The colorful textured windows in the farmhouse kitchen.
At Noosa Shire, a single application must be made for all existing and new properties operating short term rentals.(Provided: Lacey’s Creek Homestead and Vineyard)

Some of Queensland’s biggest tourist hubs are introducing regulations to limit the number of properties listed on sites like airbnb and get inventory back on the long-term rental market.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced last week that the City Council would impose an additional 50 per cent charge on rate bills for properties let as short-term accommodation.

Although the council does not have exact data on the number of short-term accommodation properties operating in Brisbane, it will rely on identifying owners, as well as reports from neighbors and ‘technology’, to find the properties.

On the coast, Noosa Shire Council passed new local law in February requiring a single application to be made for all existing and new properties operating short-term rentals or homestay accommodation, unless identified as exempt.

Annual renewal of approval will be required as long as the accommodation business continues to operate on the property.

Complaints will be handled by a centralized 24/7 helpline and properties are required to post a notice of approval at the front of the property including the helpline number 24/7 telephone number and approval number.

People at the lagoon on the Esplanade in Cairns in the far north in 2004.
Cairns could follow Brisbane’s lead and raise rates for owners of short-term accommodation.(AAP: Lloyd Jones/File Photo)

The council had also called for a state tax on short-term accommodation providers.

And in the Far North, Cairns Regional Council is set to raise rates later this month on investment property to penalize short-term accommodation providers.

NSW introduces entry fees and stay caps

The NSW Government introduced a mandatory code of conduct and changes to strata legislation in 2020.

Hosts are required to register their short-term accommodation and comply with a fire safety standard.

A $65 registration fee for the first 12 months and a $25 annual renewal fee are part of the laws.

Both hosted and non-hosted short stay properties can operate year-round in the state, except in Greater Sydney and certain local government regional areas of NSW.

Non-hosted listings in these areas – meaning properties where the owner does not also live at home while a guest is there – are limited to 180 days per year.

Reservations for more than 21 consecutive days are exempt from the day limit.

Byron Bay attracts tourists from all over the world.
Byron Bay is set to introduce strict caps on short stays.(ABC News: Bridget Judd)

However, Byron Bay looks set to impose a 90-day cap on short-term listings in a bid to free up housing stock.

Options being considered for short-term and vacation lodging are a 90-day cap on non-residential accommodation in the majority of the county, or non-residential accommodation available year-round in some areas.

On the South Coast, the Eurobodalla Shire Council has written to thousands of holiday home owners asking them to make their properties available to tenants to help ease the housing crisis in the area, to avoid ” to take the regulatory route”.

Tasmania has a permit system

Hosts in Tasmania are now required to register for a permit with their local council or apply for a waiver if their listing is eligible.

A permit is not required if the accommodation is the primary place of residence and the landlord hosts the space when temporarily away or guests occupy no more than four bedrooms.

However, those who legally use their property for visitor accommodation before July 1, 2018 are not required to obtain a permit, nor are hotels, motels or caravan parks.

Colonial style brick houses on a street in Hobart.
Hobart limits the number of properties allowed to accommodate short-stay guests.(Provided: realestate.com.au)

In March, the number of short-lived properties allowed in the Hobart area was limited under a motion passed by Hobart City Council to halt any new permits for development of short-lived whole houses in residential areas .

Behavioral rules apply to Victoria

For short-term accommodation in units and apartments, Victoria has rules governing noise and behavior.

A view of apartment blocks in Docklands in Melbourne
Victoria introduced strict laws regarding noise and other customer complaints in short-term accommodation.(ABC News: Michael Barnett)

They apply if a person shares a private bedroom, their entire home while away, or shares a non-primary place of residence, such as a vacation home.

Acts such as making excessive noise or damaging property constitute an offense or strike under the new laws and give the Civil and Administrative Court of Victoria the power to prevent a flat owner from renting out their property at short notice if three different complaints are filed within a time limit. 24 month period.

The laws also allow the owner of the apartment to be charged with a compensation order for loss of amenity, which can be up to $2,000 per complaint.

Owners and guests of a short-term rented apartment may face penalties.

South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT

South Australia has a proposal in place for a property register, but nothing has yet been adopted.

The NT and ACT don’t have anything specific in law either, but landlord corporations can decide that leases should be signed for a minimum term to limit Airbnbs instances.

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