New laws highlight the fraught nature of renting through Airbnb

We’ve written before about the potential pitfalls of renting your property through short-term letting sites. Often, it is not the money making machine you’re led to believe it will be. And, there’s a very real risk you’ll seriuously upset your neighbours.

On the second point, short term lettings have become one of the most talked about problems in strata regimes, as residents have fought back against being forced to live next door to a steady stream of tourists. Part of the problem has been that short-term holiday letting is currently unregulated in New South Wales, and Tribunal and Council decisions in various Australian jurisdictions have caused uncertainty as to the current state of the law.

This is about to change, with the NSW Government announcing new laws, described by the Better Regulation Minister as the “toughest in the country”. Essentially, the new regime targets investors who buy up apartments to put on Airbnb (as distinct from owner-occupiers who rent spare rooms or entire units while they are not at home). Under the plan:

    • Hosts of properties in the greater Sydney area, who don’t live at the property, will be limited to 180 days rental. Elsewhere, Councils will have the power to reduce the number of days short-term holiday letting is permitted.
    • Owners’ corporations will be able to prevent short-term letting in their block if the host does not live in the unit (by 75% vote).
    • Airbnb and other operators will be required to sign up to a code of conduct, and share their data with the NSW Government.
    • Hosts or guests who, within a two year period, commit two serious breaches of the code, will be banned for five years and be listed on an exclusion register.
    • Fair Trading will be given new powers to police the online platforms and letting agents, and will use the data supplied by the platforms to assess complaints to determine whether a strike should be issued.

Our leasing and property management team is one of the most experienced in Sydney’s east. For advice on any matter, please contact me or any member of our team: Chris Papp, Claudia Pajor, Beryl Davis, Tom Clifton, and Tracey Micallef.

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