As more Australians find it more difficult to get housing and the costs of goods and services skyrocket, local and state governments have turned their significant legislative weaponry on short-stay accommodation providers.
Some municipalities have increased rates for properties listed on platforms such as airbnb and Stayz, while state governments have capped the number of days these properties can be rented out as vacation rentals.
Here’s the latest on the rules governing the use of short-stay properties in Australia.
WA still decides, municipalities take action
Broome property owners who intend to rent out their home through an online platform must register with the council.
Broome Shire Council committed to the changes last month as part of a new planning plan, which is still awaiting approval from the state’s planning minister.
Under the previous regulation, the county did not have the ability to approve short-term rental properties to operate in areas marked for occupancy.
But the new regulation gives the council the power to allow the homes in residential areas as long as owners ask for permission.
The council’s argument was that people who operated resorts and hotels paid higher rates, while people who operated short-term rentals “had no restrictions around them.”
Further south, local laws passed by the City of Busselton have imposed a curfew on guests and banned leaving dogs unattended.
The rules are part of the second phase of regulatory changes that will empower the city to deregister holiday homes that do not adhere to the new code of conduct.
It also requires property managers to respond to questions from the public within 12 hours.
The code of conduct for holiday home visitors became final in April and included a limit on the number of guests after 10 p.m.
It also obliges owners to put up a sign with the manager’s contact details visible from the street.
The city of Busselton governs the popular tourist regions of Dunsborough, Yallingup and parts of Margaret River.
WA’s Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is examining the implementation of a new state-wide short-stay registration system.
Consultations are being held with online booking platforms and short stay providers.
Queensland councils raise rates
Some of Queensland’s largest tourist centers are enacting regulations designed to limit the number of properties listed on airbnb sites and return the stock to the long-term rental market.
Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced last week that the City Council would levy an additional 50 percent levy on rates for short-stay properties.
While the council does not have exact data on how many short term properties are operating in Brisbane, it will rely on owners to identify themselves, along with reports from neighbors and “technology”, to locate the properties.
On the coast, the Noosa Shire Council passed a new local law in February requiring a one-off application to be made for all existing and new properties rented for short-term or housing purposes unless identified as exempt.
Annual renewal of the approval is required as long as the accommodation activity continues to take place at the property.
Complaints are managed through a centralized 24/7 complaint hotline and properties are required to display an approval notice on the front of the property, including the 24/7 complaint hotline number and approval number.
The council had also called for a government levy on short-stay providers.
And in the Far North, the Cairns Regional Council is expected to raise investment property rates later this month in a bid to penalize short-stay accommodation providers.
NSW introduces registration fee, limits on stays
The NSW government introduced a mandatory code of conduct and changes to the strata legislation in 2020.
Landlords are required to register their temporary accommodation and meet a fire safety standard.
A $65 registration fee for the first 12 months and a $25 annual renewal fee are part of the laws.
Hosted and non-hosted short stay accommodations can be used year round in the state, except in Greater Sydney and some NSW regional government areas.
Non-hosted listings in those areas — that is, properties where the owner doesn’t also live in the home while a guest is there — is limited to 180 days per year.
Bookings of more than 21 consecutive days are exempt from the daily limit.
However, it appears Byron Bay is mandating a 90-day limit on short-term listings in an effort to free up the housing stock.
Options being considered for short term and holiday accommodation are a 90 day maximum for unhosted accommodation in most of the shire, or unhosted accommodation available year round in certain areas.
On the south coast, Eurobodalla Shire Council has written to thousands of holiday home owners asking them to make their properties available to tenants to alleviate the region’s housing crisis, in an effort to prevent them from “going down the regulatory route”.
Tasmania has a licensing system
Landlords in Tasmania must now register for a permit with their local council or apply for a waiver if their listing qualifies.
A permit is not required if the residence is the primary residence and the owner rents out the space when he or she is temporarily away or if guests occupy no more than four bedrooms.
However, those who legally use their property for visitor accommodation before July 1, 2018 are not required to apply for a permit, and neither are hotels, motels or caravan parks.
In March, the number of short-stay residences permitted in the Hobart area was restricted under a motion by the Hobart City Council to stop new permits for whole-home short-stay development in residential areas.
Rules of conduct apply in Victoria
For short term accommodation in units and apartments, Victoria has noise and behavior rules.
They apply if a person shares a private room, shares their entire home while away, or shares a non-primary residence such as a vacation home.
Acts such as making excessive noise or damaging property constitute a violation or strike under the new laws and give the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal the power to prevent an apartment owner from renting out their property on a short-term basis if there are three different complaints are submitted within a period of 24 months.
The laws also allow the apartment owner to be charged with a loss of provisions for compensation, which can be as much as $2,000 per complaint.
Owners and guests of an apartment that is rented out for a short period of time can be fined.
South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT
South Australia has a proposal for a property registry, but nothing has been enshrined in law yet.
The NT and ACT also don’t have anything specific in the law, but homeowners’ associations can determine that leases must be signed for a minimum period of time to limit the number of Airbnb cases.