You may well have chosen a stylish Airbnb for your last holiday stay, but many apartment and townhouse owners have also looked into letting their own strata unit out in the short term. Here’s a brief guide to understanding the short term accommodation market and proposed NSW strata laws.
What is short term accommodation?
While visitors arriving in Sydney might stay at a hotel or a bed & breakfast, they may also use services such as Airbnb or Stayz to find a private stay. Property owners can use these platforms to let out their property on a short term basis and this is an increasingly popular option – with total Airbnb listings in Australia increasing a staggering 87% in 2017 alone. While commercial accommodation options are regulated, private accommodation through platforms like Airbnb has been unregulated in NSW – that is, until the state government passed a number of new reforms in August 2018.
The good, the bad and the unruly
Private short term accommodation can be a win-win situation for both guests and hosts, but it can also cause issues for other residents who share a property. Although guests must technically abide by the noise and disruption by-laws of a strata property, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. There may also be concerns about building security or damage to the property during short term stays, and about some tenants subletting out a property without their landlord’s knowledge. There has also been a surge in investors buying properties to rent out through services like Airbnb, which is believed to directly affect the price of local housing and rental availability. The new regulatory framework passed in 2018 aims to address many of these issues.
What changes will be made?
The new regulatory framework includes three key changes:
A 180-day cap
There will now be a 180-day limit on how many days empty properties can be let out in the greater Sydney area using short term providers if the owner is not present. There is currently no automatic cap set for regional areas of NSW, but councils will have the choice to set their own limits.
A mandatory Code of Conduct
Short term stay operators such as Airbnb will have to supply data to the state government and sign up to a new Code of Conduct which addresses problems like noise, disruption and property damage. Two serious breaches within two years by either hosts or guests may lead to hefty fines and a five-year ban from using short term stay platforms.
Banning power for strata management
Owners corporations will have the power to ban the use of private short term stay providers such as Airbnb, providing:
- The owner does not live in the unit, and
- 75% of the owners agree to pass a by-law to ban the practice.
What about owners renting their unit out while on holiday?
The new legislation will provide an exception to owner-occupied units. If you live in your apartment and are letting it out for a short period while you’re away – or even want to let a room in your unit out on a short term basis – your strata committee will not be able to ban this practice. The NSW short term letting framework is expected to begin in 2019 with a review after 12 months, so stay tuned for further updates.
Looking for further details? Our eBook provides more in-depth information on these changes and how they may affect you: How Australia’s New Subletting Legislation Will Affect Airbnb