NSW plans crackdown on ‘Airbnb’ rentals

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The NSW government is moving to crack down on Airbnb style short-term rentals and vacant holiday homes in an effort to put some of the state’s 50-60,000 untenanted dwellings back into the rental market.

The government says it is responding to a housing crisis that has seen residential rents reach astronomical levels while availability is at an all-time low and homelessness and rough sleeping is increasing.

All these proposals and more are in a discussion paper released this week, examining how short-stay rentals and holiday homes could be returned to the long-term rental accommodation market.

The ideas touted are clearly intended to make it financially less attractive for investors to take their properties out of the residential market and list them as holiday lets.

A booking charge imposed on holiday rental websites like Airbnb and Stayz – such as the “Airbnb  tax” brought in by the Victorian government last year –  is mooted  in the discussion paper.

The document cites jurisdictions around the world that impose charges on short-term rentals, including Germany, France, the US and Canada. Booking platforms collect the levies on behalf of the governments.

Limits on the number of guests allowed in short-stay rentals, daily fees per guest, and lower annual caps on the maximum number of nights a short-stay rental can be listed were among other measures being considered, says an ABC radio story.

The paper also proposed higher registration fees for short-term rentals, more onerous planning and approval requirements and limits to the number of homes in an area that can be used as short-term rental accommodation.

“We know the housing crisis is real and we don’t want any part of the housing market to be unexamined – everything’s under the microscope,” Housing and Homelessness Minister Rose Jackson said.

The highest concentrations of short-stay rentals are in the Byron Shire and along the state’s south coast in areas like the Shoalhaven, Kiama and the Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Confirming the cause and effect of holiday homes on rental accommodation, Byron Shire has the highest number of people sleeping rough in the state, and overtook the City of Sydney as the local government area with the most rough sleepers in 2023, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Up to 35,000 homes across the state are let as “whole homes” throughout the year, claims the discussion paper. Another 45,000 properties are used as occasional holiday homes and a further 15,000 are left vacant all year.

Ms Jackson said it was clear these “under-utilised properties” were having an impact on the availability of long-term affordable housing.

Since the end of 2019, advertised prices for long-term rentals in NSW have increased more than 38 per cent and last year alone rose 14 per cent, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Meanwhile, the vacancy rate in Greater Sydney was 1.7 per cent in December, below a 10-year average of 2.3 per cent.

“Renters have seen rents skyrocket in NSW, our vacancy rates are very low, they’re close to one per cent of vacant rental stock in some areas,” Ms Jackson said.

NSW residents and other interested parties have four weeks, until March 14, to respond to the discussion paper.

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by .
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  • #72727
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

      The NSW government is moving to crack down on Airbnb style short-term rentals and vacant holiday homes in an effort to put some of the state’s 50-60,0
      [See the full post at: NSW plans crackdown on ‘Airbnb’ rentals]

      The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
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    • #72757
      Columbo
      Flatchatter

        I am hopeful that there will be a root and branch overhaul of the regulations. But at the end of the day the biggest problem is the (few) property managers who ride roughshod over by-laws, regulations, code of conduct and grab whatever money they can on the way through – with no regard to the community, nor to the owners of the properties they manage…

        I believe that the only way that gets fixed is when someone is put on the exclusion list and the tiger is perceived as having teeth.

        #72760
        davidart
        Flatchatter
          I am hopeful that there will be a root and branch overhaul of the regulations. But at the end of the day the biggest problem is the (few) property managers who ride roughshod over by-laws, regulations

          I am hopeful that there will be a root and branch overhaul of the regulations. But at the end of the day the biggest problem is the (few) property managers who ride roughshod over by-laws, regulations, code of conduct and grab whatever money they can on the way through – with no regard to the community, nor to the owners of the properties they manage…

          I believe that the only way that gets fixed is when someone is put on the exclusion list and the tiger is perceived as having teeth.

          You’re correct and property managers and various management companies are exploiting the situation to earn additional income under the radar.

          As for regulations and laws, they are unlikely to halt Airbnb and short-term rentals, as these entities often disregard legal constraints, drawn by the allure of profit.

          The solution lies in partnering with a competent management company that can identify and deter such practices, equipping them with effective security electronic systems like virtual mobile access cards. That way no more costly keyfobs, which can easily be shared via mailboxes or external padlocks, and no more copies, buyable at your local Mister Minit..

          The issue is that many management companies still place undue trust in building security integrators, who often are not be fully aware of the security shortcomings of their installations.

          For instance, my building in Melbourne, UWS, was equipped with over 10,000 HID SEOS cards, which were promised to be unclonable. Yet, they were cloned within just two months.

          It took three years for HID to finally acknowledge the security flaw and inform all security integrators about it. It’s quite laughable.

          In conclusion, to effectively eliminate short-term rentals, we need to implement the right security systems that are independent of security integrators and eliminate the use of fobs.

          No more installing HID products ever again…

          Coupled with a competent management company, this should suffice.

          • This reply was modified 2 months ago by .
          #72769
          TrulEConcerned
          Flatchatter

            There are many problems with Airbnb, that unsurprisingly several are missed by the regulators and politicians in general.

            Two come to mind as chronically missed opportunities:

            1. Say you’re a landlord. You lease your investment unit for one year to Mr and Mrs Jones. A few months into the lease they tell you they are scooting overseas for a month and their neighbour will take their mail in their absence. You have no issue with that. Without your knowledge they rent the place out for that month via Airbnb. Your llong standing andlord insurance policy does not cover anything while STHL is taking place. The OC is not happy with three different parties living in the property over the month. Some of which make unbearable noise at night and create parking problems. When you find out about this business venture by your tenants, during their month absence, you contact Airbnb and complain saying the tenants have no right to contract with Airbnb. Airbnb tells you to go fly a kite. Specifically: “thank you for your feedback. Our policy is to stand by our hosts and the Jones’ are our hosts”. I repeat: “they cannot be hosts. The place is not theirs. It’s like them selling a random car in a shopping centre car park. They do not have papers to show it is their automobile”! Airbnb thanked me for my feedback but didn’t budge an inch.

            I had to go to NCAT (after waiting a few months to be heard) in order to stop this situation, which was repeated a few times and each time exposed me as uninsured. Alternatively I was happy for NCAT to have my tenants ordered to pay the additional premium for landlord insurance that covers STHL.

            At NCAT I won because the Member saw the facts as I did. Who knows how another Member would see the facts?

            What is needed as part of any reform to the legislation are massive penalties for Airbnb if caught contracting with anyone other than the owner of the premises or anyone who has the owner’s written consent. Maybe a three strikes and you’re out of the Australian marketplace would be a good start. It’s not like there are no other similar platforms; and

            2. It was reported a few years ago that negative reviews of accommodation is not a selling point for the platform, so Airbnb did its best to exclude such reviews from the website. For tourists, this makes good hosts indivisible from lousy ones. I am unaware if this unsavoury behaviour continues to operate.

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