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Focus on short-term letting regulation shifts to NSW

A definition on short-term accommodation will be formalised as part of proposed reform in NSW.

A draft ‘Code of Conduct’ regulating the short-term rental accommodation industry, its hosts, guests, online booking platforms and letting agents is set to be implemented in NSW, complete with a mandatory code of conduct.

The move has received unanimous support from Australia’s two major hotel industry advocacy bodies, with both Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) welcoming the proposals.

Spearheaded by the NSW Government’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Department of Customer Service, feedback is now being sought on the key proposed element to be brought in – an industry-led short-term rental accommodation property register.

The key objective of the new regulations is to generate a state-wide definition of short-term rental accommodation and to provide planning instruments and guidelines under which residential premises can be used for short-term accommodation under certain conditions. Changes to planning laws would be passed through parliament as part of a streamlined process.

L-R Dean Long, AAoA and Michael Johnson, TAA

TAA Chief Executive, Michael Johnson, says the organisation has been pushing for the reforms and the introduction of a registration system on short-term rentals for some time.

“A registration system is a welcome first step towards creating a level playing field between the accommodation sector and the “quasi hotels” springing up due to unregulated short-term letting.

“No matter where tourists stay, they should be able to rest assured that their accommodation adheres to minimum health and safety requirements,” he added.

Johnson stressed the TAA had no issue with “mums and dads renting out spare rooms or their homes while on holiday” but was against the operation of quasi-hotels running full-time and year-round businesses on properties zoned as residential in suburbs such as Bondi, Coogee, Manly and the Sydney CBD.

Similarly, AAoA boss Dean Long said unregulated accommodation was one of the greatest challenges the sector was facing.

“We will be reviewing the proposed regulations and we look forward to working with the Government as they finalise the specifics of the regulations to ensure the needs of the accommodation sector and our guests are considered.”

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