Short-term letting will soon be subject to a Code of Conduct once formally implemented.
Short-term letting will soon be subject to a Code of Conduct once formally implemented.

Amendments to the Fair Trading Act surrounding the interpretation of short-term rental accommodation has now taken effect, with the hotel sector welcoming the further steps toward future regulation of the sector.

Under the new rules, strata bodies overseeing a building can now, with majority agreement, prohibit the use of a host’s non-primary place of residence from being listed on short-term rental websites. However, the rules mean a host can still list either a room or the entire residence when it remains their primary home, such as when a host is away on their own temporary holidays.

In addition, short-term rentals of three months or less will not be regulated under residential tenancy laws, meaning non-primary residences cannot be sold on short-term letting platforms for stays of less than 90 nights if a strata or owners corporation so deems.

The changes to the Act took effect on 10 April 2020.

The amendment prefaces the eventual implementation of a formal NSW Government Code of Conduct into the sector, which will introduce official rules and obligations on hosts, guests and respective booking agencies operating in short-term letting. The Code is still being finalised and will see its implementation pushed back until later this year at the earliest.

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

Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson, said the organisation has been making strong advocacy efforts to the NSW Government in relation to the future Code of Conduct.

“TAA thanks the NSW government for the amendments and look forward to changes in planning laws including registration and a new state-wide definition of short-term rental accommodation, as well as new ‘exempt’ and ‘complying’ approval pathways which allow short-term rental accommodation within day limits.

“With the new code of conduct, registration and planning laws in place we can finally hope to see a regulated short term rental accommodation environment which actually complements the accommodation sector as opposed to putting jobs at risk and disrupting residential areas,” Johnson added.

Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, added the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need for a robust regulatory framework for short-term rentals.

“The Accommodation Association has worked with government over four years to agree a regulatory framework that ensures the amenity, safety and protection of visitors and residents, including the assurance that these short term rentals have public liability insurance.”

Long expressed frustration at the delays associated with the adoption of the Code of Conduct, saying governments and local councils lacked oversight and understanding into the short-term rentals sector as it relates to measures in place to protect the safety and amenity of visitors, residents and local communities.