How Australia is dealing with airbnb, Stayz in a housing crisis

 In Home News Section, Uncategorized

As more Australians find it harder to secure housing and the cost of goods and services skyrockets, local and state governments have aimed their considerable legislative weaponry at short-stay accommodation providers.

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

Here is the latest on what rules govern the use of properties for short-term stays around Australia.

WA still deciding, councils take action

Broome property owners who plan to rent our their homes via an online platform will have to register with the town’s council.

Broome Shire Council committed to the changes last month as part of a new planning scheme, which is still awaiting approval from the state Planning Minister.

Under the previous scheme the shire had no 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 allow the properties in residential zones as long as owners seek permission.

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 have imposed a night curfew on guests and prohibited leaving pet dogs unattended.

The rules are part of the second stage of regulatory changes that give the city power to deregister holiday homes not adhering to the new code of conduct.

It also mandates property managers must respond to queries from the public within 12 hours.

The code of conduct for holiday home visitors was finalised in April and included a limit on the number of guests past 10pm.

It also mandated that owners display a sign with the manager’s contact details visible from the street.

The City of Busselton governs the popular tourist regions of Dunsborough, Yallingup and parts of Margaret River.

WA’s Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is investigating the implementation of a new state-wide registration system for short-stay accommodation.

Online booking platforms and short-stay accommodation providers are being consulted.

Queensland councils increase rates

Some of Queensland’s biggest tourist centres are bringing in regulations designed to limit the number of properties listed on sites like airbnb and return stock to the long-term rental market.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced last week that the city council would slap an extra 50 per cent charge on rates bills for properties rented as short-term accommodation.

Although the council does not have exact data on how many short-term accommodation properties operate in Brisbane, it will rely on owners identifying themselves, along with reports from neighbours and “technology”, to find the properties.

Up the coast, Noosa Shire Council adopted a new local law in February requiring a one-off application to be made for all existing and new properties operating short-stay letting or home-hosted accommodation, unless identified as exempt.

Annual renewal of the approval will be required while the accommodation activity continues to operate at the property.

Complaints will be managed through a centralised 24/7 complaints hotline and properties are required to display an approval notice at the front of the property, including the 24/7 complaints hotline number and approval number.

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

And in the Far North, Cairns Regional Council is expected to increase rates later this month on investment properties in an effort to penalise short-stay accommodation providers.

NSW introduces registration fee, caps on stays

The NSW government brought in 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 registration fee of $65 for the first 12 months and an annual renewal fee of $25 is part of the laws.

Hosted and unhosted short-term stay properties can operate all year in the state, except in Greater Sydney and some regional NSW local government areas.

Unhosted listings in those areas — that is, properties where the owner is not also living at the home while a guest is there — are limited to 180 days per year.

Bookings above 21 consecutive days are exempt from the day limit.

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

Options being weighed for short-term and holiday accommodation are a 90-day cap on non-hosted accommodation in the majority of the shire, or non-hosted accommodation being available year-round in certain areas.

On the south coast, Eurobodalla Shire Council has written to thousands of holiday home owners asking them to make their properties available to renters to ease the region’s housing crisis, in an effort to avoid “going down the regulatory route”.

Tasmania has a permit system

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

A permit is not required if the accommodation is the main place of residence, and the owner hosts the space when they are temporarily away or guests occupy no more than four bedrooms.

However, those lawfully using their property for visitor accommodation before July 1, 2018 are not required to get a permit, and nor are hotels, motels or caravan parks.

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

Behaviour rules apply in Victoria

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

They apply if a person is sharing a private room, their whole home while away or sharing a non-primary place of residence, such as a holiday home.

Acts such as making excessive noise or damaging property constitute a breach or strike under the new laws and give the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal the power to prevent the owner of an apartment short-term letting out their property if three different complaints are made within a 24-month period.

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

Owners and guests of an apartment that is let short-term can face penalties.

South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT

South Australia has a proposal in place for a property register but nothing has been passed into law yet.

The NT and ACT do not have anything specific in law either, but owners’ corporations can rule that leases must be signed for a minimum time frame to limit the instances of Airbnbs.

(Original ABC Article)