The Australian Short-Term Rental Association (ASTRA), estimates up to 80,000 short-term rentals are available in NSW with 50,000 listed on websites. If you are an owner of one of these holiday rentals there are now requirements in place to register your property under new short-term letting laws. All short-term rentals in NSW must now meet new fire safety rules requiring compliance in providing evidence of installation. Even though this requirement has been pushed back to March 2022 it is widely speculated that some property managers will falsely claim they meet the standards. This will expose guests should there be an issue of voided insurance brought about by any subsequent claims. Owners must have registered their properties by November 1, the same day all NSW travel restrictions were lifted, or be banned from taking guests. The rules are simple. If you are not registered you can not list on the major platforms, nor can you list with local agents. No registration means no listing.
Airbnb and Vrbo, which manages short-term listings across the Stayz and Expedia platforms, began delisting properties that do not have a government registration number from November 1.
Sitting side by side with the registration of holiday rentals and their requirement to meet safety standards expected of B and B's and Motels is the mechanism that may well lead to the properties being identified as non-compliant within zoning rules following continued pressure to remove holiday "party houses" from quite suburban streets, as has been the case in Byron Bay. An interesting aside is that you can now lodge complaints about loud (or non compliant) holiday rentals on the registration site. The consequences of complaints that are found to have substance will result in warnings and then deregistration. By identifying the properties from the register as commercial the next step will be to see the properties given a seperate rate base. This is being considered presently as IPART considers how it can assist councils in raising more revenue from its rate base. So if you are planning on going on a holiday be sure to book a registered holiday rental to give you peace of mind that the property meets safety standards and is willing to abide by codes of practice. The mandatory Code of Conduct for the Short-term Rental Accommodation Industry started on 18 December 2020 ad was updated on 28 May 2021 to reflect that the planning instruments and STRA register would commence in November 2021. Obligations in the Code relating to the STRA register commenced on 1st November.
Further changes were made to the Code in October 2021, to:
provide that booking platforms are now only required to check that the premises is registered before advertising that premises, rather than both the premises and the host, and
specify the information that booking platforms must provide to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
If a breach is found to have occurred Fair Trading may impose one of the following penalties:
warnings or directions to take or cease certain action
a ‘strike’ against a host, host’s premises, or guest for serious breaches of the Code
recording a guest, host or host’s premises on the Exclusion Register.
The code creates new minimum standards of behaviour and requirements for guests. The public-facing Exclusion Register is currently under development and is expected to commence in May 2022. Requirements under the Code relating to the Exclusion Register will start when the public-facing register becomes operational. At the end of the day the onus is on the guest to ask themselves "In the case of accident am I covered by the insurance of this property and will any claim be voided if the property is found to be non-compliant under the law."