BOA Meeting – Options paper for short-term holiday letting in NSW

On Thursday 12th October, BOA held a meeting for its members to discuss BOA’s submission to the Options Paper for short-term holiday letting in NSW. Today is the last to send in submissions. BOA urges all of its members to submit their own feedback which can be done here. The BOA committee holds serious concerns about […]

On Thursday 12th October, BOA held a meeting for its members to discuss BOA’s submission to the Options Paper for short-term holiday letting in NSW. Today is the last to send in submissions. BOA urges all of its members to submit their own feedback which can be done here.

The BOA committee holds serious concerns about the phenomenal growth of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ facilitated by web-based platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz and the impact that such platforms are having on the businesses of our members.

All members in attendance at the meeting agreed upon the main recommendations put forward by BOA for its submission which were:

  1. Please indicate which impacts you are most concerned about and how do you believe these could be managed? (noise, waste, party houses, parking, hazards/evacuation)
    The high proportion of whole-premises and thus commercial listings creates unfair competition for traditional, highly regulated accommodation providers. Backpacker hostels operators are entitled to compete on a level playing field; this is currently not the case. BOA NSW calls upon the NSW Legislative Assembly to develop a framework for a host registration system to regulate non-commercial short term letting by resident landlords
  2. Considering the mechanisms below, how could self-regulation in NSW address any negative impacts of STHL?
    – Code of Conduct
    – Complaint Management Mechanism
    – Monitoring & Reporting
    Self-regulation could only be effective if it complements a NSW Government regulatory framework.
  3. Are there barriers that may reduce the effectiveness of self-regulation?
    The STHL industry consists predominantly of a very large number of small operators which will make self-regulation hard, if not impossible. Furthermore, to date Airbnb has vehemently resisted cooperating with authorities attempting to regulate the ‘sharing economy’ in various jurisdictions around the globe. By taking a hands-off, laissez-faire attitude toward the professionalisation of hosting by commercial landlords and multi-property agents, Airbnb has in effect become its own worst enemy.
  4. Should owners’ corporations be given the legal ability to prohibit or restrict STHL? If so, how and under what circumstances?
    – BOA NSW is concerned that large scale STHL in residential apartments is trashing tourism’s reputation and causing antagonism between residents and tourists.
    – Strata laws therefore need to be changed to protect the amenity of residents. As a matter of urgency owners’ corporations must be enabled to prohibit STHL in their strata schemes.
  5. Should the Strata Schemes Management Act be amended to increase the ability of owners’ corporations to manage the impact of STHL and obtain compensation for adverse impacts? If so, under what circumstances.
    Yes but only if STHL is not excluded altogether in the strata by-laws.
  6. Is there scope for industry self-regulation in the short-term holiday letting industry? Would this effectively address issues that occur in short-term letting in strata schemes?
    No, this would not effectively address the problem.
  7. How should STHL be subject to a planning regulatory framework? What would be the impacts of applying a planning framework to STHL?
    – In metropolitan areas, STHL with the host present for a maximum of 60 days per year to a maximum of 4 guests should be exempt.
    – Rental of a whole dwelling (principal residence) with the host away for a maximum of 60 days per year to a maximum of 6 guests should be a complying development in metropolitan areas.
    – When renting a dwelling for more than 60 days per year with the host away, the dwelling can no longer be considered a principal residence. It is therefore a commercial activity that requires development consent through a development application.
  8. If STHL is to be regulated via the planning framework, how should it apply?
    – Number of total days per year
    – Number of consecutive days
    – Number of bedrooms
    – Length of stay
    – Presence of a host
    – Location (metro vs regional)
    – Compliance with a Code of Conduct
    A combination of total days per year, number of guests, presence of a host, location and compliance with a Code of Conduct.
  9. Should there be different planning frameworks in regional and metropolitan areas? If so, how and why?
    BOA recognises the historical importance of, mostly seasonal, short-term holiday letting in coastal and regional areas of NSW, and the limited capacity and desire for regulation and enforcement by local councils. As such all rentals of up to 60 days per year, with or without the host present should be exempt. Renting a dwelling for more than 60 days per year in regional areas should be a complying development.
  10. Could a licensing system for STHL work in NSW? If so, how might it operate?
    A licensing system for STHL in NSW will only be effective if it can be successfully implemented and enforced. BOA calls upon the NSW Legislative Assembly to develop a host registration system and regulate STHL. To effectively regulate online non-commercial STHL it is essential to require online platforms to co-operate (mandatory publication of the license number, limits to the number of days a property can be booked in a twelve month period) with new STHL rules. Without such cooperation it is the tax payers who pick up the costs associated with investigation and enforcement.
  11. The options outlined in this paper are summarised in the below table. For the future regulatory framework, which top three options (if any) would you like to see in this framework and why?
    BOA CHART– Strict adherences to a Code of Conduct, including safety and amenity measures, must be a condition to continue to maintain a STHL licence.
    – By-laws to prohibit STHL if the majority of the Strata owners vote to do so.
    – Registration to monitor.

If you would like any further details on BOA’s submission or advise on completing your own submission please do not hesitate to contact BOA on boa@boansw.org.au.