NSW passes Australia’s tightest Airbnb laws


Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Innovation & Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean


Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Innovation & Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean

Short-term holiday letting in NSW will have “tougher but fairer” regulation from 2019, after the state parliament passed the Government’s plan for the industry yesterday.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the short-term holiday letting reforms bolster NSW’s sharing economy while clamping down on unruly guests and allowing owners corporations to pass by-laws banning commercial holiday lets in apartments where the owner is not present during the let.

“Our plan is a win-win. It acknowledges the huge financial contribution online booking platforms make to the NSW economy, but also takes a zero-tolerance approach to raucous guests,” Mr Kean said in a press release.

The NSW state government’s law is a massive step away from what they had planned to introduce before a backbench revolt earlier this year.  Mr Kean had originally proposed no limit on the number of nights that units could be let and no ability to pass by-laws restricting commercial lets. However, a revolt in Government ranks saw a 180 degree turnaround at the last minute,  literally, as a planned Press conference had to be hastily abandoned. Later the Minister announced the country’s tightest restrictions on commercial holiday lets in residential blocks.

Mr Kean said NSW Fair Trading and industry stakeholders were developing a new Code of Conduct to manage noise levels and disruptive behaviour. The mandatory Code will come into force next year, and will apply to online accommodation platforms, letting agents, hosts and guests across the State.

“Under our ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy, hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the Code within two years will be banned for five years, and be listed on an exclusion register,” Mr Kean said.

However, it has been noted that the 30-strong committee set up to devise the code of conduct contains only two representatives of residents’ groups – the rest are all from the holiday letting industry.  And even then, claims Owners Corporation Network spokesman Stephen Goddard, the Airbnb representative there complained that other stakeholders had only been allowed one representative each.

Mr Kean went on to announce in his press release that amendments to the Strata Schemes Management Act are also being made so owners’ corporations can pass by-laws to ban short-term letting in their block, in units where the host is not present, provided they get a 75 per cent majority vote.

“I’ve asked NSW Fair Trading to develop ‘what you can and can’t do’ guidelines to help owners’ corporations set rules that suit their strata schemes,” Mr Kean said.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said new state-wide planning rules would come into force next year, detailing how many days a year properties could be let.

“It’s great to see these sensible reforms pass through Parliament, giving certainty to the industry, and to all involved,” Mr Roberts said.

It will be interesting to see what “advice” Fair Trading gives strata schemes on holiday lets as its track record of late in arbitrarily setting rules that have turned out to have dubious legal foundations doesn’t inspire much confidence.

2 Replies to “NSW passes Australia’s tightest Airbnb laws”

  1. doveone says:

    The so called strongest NSW regulations for short term letting do not address most of the concerns of strata owners as they only regulate
    stl by non resident owners but leave resident owners free to do what they like and is very unfair to owners who are not in favour of stl. This is the situation in our building of only 8 units where one owner rents out his unit and the other 7 are opposed to it because of the concerns raised in the submission by the Strata Network body, The State government informed me that a by law prohibiting stl has no effect
    so there is nothing we can do. i resent the fact that total strangers can make use of the facilities that the owners paid for through special levies, in particular our swimming pool which was recently totally renovated to become a very attractive asset. The owner who rents out his unit is able to charge a huge rental and benefits at the other owners expense and we are powerless.

  2. If I can provide this summary of what strata owner-occupiers can do, and what strata investors can do, when it comes to short-term rentals –

    A strata owner-occupier can rent the apartment they live in as a principal place of residence for short-term rental accommodation for up to 180 days per year in Greater Sydney, and 365 days per year elsewhere in NSW.
    • This is overrides a ‘No Airbnb’ by-law.
    • What is more, no Local Council approval is necessary.
    • All that is needed is to give 21 days notice to the owners corporation before the short term renting activity starts (not before each rental starts).

    A strata investor can rent their investment apartment for short term rental accommodation for up to 180 days per year in Greater Sydney, and 365 days per year elsewhere in NSW unless the owners corporation passes a ‘No Airbnb’ by-law, in which case they cannot rent it out for less than 3 months at a time.

    For more information, click on my article – Be ready for the new Airbnb short-term letting laws in NSW https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=203a9bda-0ac1-4bd4-91c0-b96855d535a5

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