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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Party Houses under the spotlight

For many the idea of having a short term holiday rental "party house" next door that rolled from one weekend to the next with laughter, discordant versions of "Happy Birthday", and talking "until all hours" would be sheer hell. With nearly 30% of our housing stock in the Eurobodalla being holiday houses the reality is that nearly every street has its "party house" that comes with parking issues, noise complaints and general frustration. But there are now new rules. Short Term Rentals need to be registered. And in that register you can make complaint if you are having issues with a particular rental property, either as a client or as a neighbour. Residential short-term rental accommodation (STRA) properties must be registered on the NSW Government STRA register, and follow the rules for STRA. They must abide by the Code of conduct for the short-term rental accommodation industry The Code sets out a fair process that must be followed before a penalty is imposed and provides for appeals against decisions to impose a penalty for breaches of the code.

First steps

We encourage everyone to attempt to resolve the matter in the first instance, by contacting the relevant party. This includes talking to the guest or host about your concerns about a possible breach of the Code or another law.

If you are unable to resolve your problem directly there are options for assistance.

Making a complaint to NSW Fair Trading

If you wish to make a complaint to NSW Fair Trading about a potential breach of the Code, please visit Make a complaint.

Fair Trading will consider the complaint to initially determine if the complaint concerns a potential breach of the Code or if it is a matter that should be referred to local council or the NSW Police.

If the complaint concerns a potential breach of the Code, Fair Trading will then carefully consider whether a breach has occurred and, if so, what action should be taken.

NSW Fair Trading will deal with the complaint fairly and according to the processes set out in the Code, and in a timely manner.

Once a decision has been made Fair Trading will advise all parties of the outcome and will provide reasons for the decision it has made.

Actions available for breaches of the Code

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

  • monetary penalty

  • 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.

Read more about the Exclusion Register.

Potential breaches of other laws

The Code does not change existing complaint handling processes for NSW Police and local councils.

Contact your local council if you have an issue or complaint relating to fire safety (including overcrowding), planning approvals, parking or ongoing noise.

You can contact the police for urgent noise issues. The regulations are for all Short Term Rental Accommodation including AirBnB There are 1150 Air BnB rentals listed in the Eurobodalla. Maybe you own one. Or maybe you have one in your street. The following news release has been issued by AirBnB (June 28th, 2022), provided below for your information: "At Airbnb, we believe the neighborhoods and communities in which we operate are as important as the Hosts and guests who use our service. We know that the overwhelming majority of our Hosts share their homes responsibly, just as the overwhelming majority of guests are responsible and treat their listings and neighborhoods as if they were their own.

In turn, we focus on trying to deter the very rare cases of Hosts who do not operate responsibly, or guests who try to throw unauthorized parties. To that end, in August 2020 we announced a temporary ban on all parties and events in listings globally — which at the time was in effect “until further notice.”

The temporary ban has proved effective, and today we are officially codifying the ban as our policy.

How we got here

Historically, we allowed Hosts to use their best judgment and authorize parties when appropriate for their home and neighborhood. In late 2019, we tightened our measures to prohibit both “open-invite” parties (i.e., those advertised on social media) as well as “chronic party houses” that had developed into neighborhood nuisances. At that time, we also launched our Neighborhood Support Line in a number of jurisdictions as a direct line for neighbors to communicate any concerns to Airbnb, which has helped us enforce that prohibition on party houses.

When the pandemic hit, as many bars and clubs closed or restricted their occupancy, we began to see some people taking partying behavior to rented homes, including through Airbnb. This was concerning to us due to both the disruptive nature of unauthorized parties and the risk of such gatherings spreading the virus. As such, we announced the party ban to our community as being “in the best interest of public health.”

Over time, the party ban became much more than a public health measure. It developed into a bedrock community policy to support our Hosts and their neighbors.

Moreover — it’s been working. We believe there is a direct correlation between our implementation of the policy in August 2020 and a 44% year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports. The ban has been well received by our Host community and we’ve received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials. As we build on this momentum, we believe the time is right to codify this policy.

How the codified policy will work

Disruptive parties and events will continue to be prohibited, including open-invite gatherings. “Party house” properties will continue to be strictly prohibited as well.

The temporary party ban policy announced in summer 2020 included a 16-person occupancy cap — which was prompted primarily by COVID-19 concerns around large gatherings prior to the introduction of vaccines. As part of the updated policy, and based on feedback from a number of Hosts who have listings that can house above 16 people comfortably, we will remove this cap.

Our recent Summer Release introduced Categories, which highlight several types of larger homes that, by definition, are capable of comfortably and safely housing more than 16 people — from castles in Europe to vineyards in the US to large beachfront villas in the Caribbean. Amazing properties like these thrive on hosting multi-generational family trips and larger groups, and removing this cap is meant to allow those Hosts to responsibly utilize the space in their homes while still complying with our ban on disruptive parties. This decision was made based on feedback from the longstanding and trusted members of our global Host community, and it will take effect in the coming months.

The policy will continue to include serious consequences for guests who attempt to violate these rules, varying from account suspension to full removal from the platform. In 2021, over 6,600 guests were suspended from Airbnb for attempting to violate our party ban. In these cases, we also work to support our Hosts with property damage protection via AirCover for Hosts.

We developed our updated policy with input from members of the new Airbnb Trust & Safety Advisory Coalition, and we will continue working to strengthen the policy based on feedback from our partners, Hosts, community leaders, policymakers and more.

In 2020 when we first announced the temporary policy, we noted plans to scope a potential exception process for specialty and traditional hospitality venues, and those plans are still under consideration.

Our ongoing commitment to fighting disruptive parties

Finally, strong policies must be complemented by strong enforcement. We’ve introduced a number of anti-party measures in recent years to enforce our policy and try, to the best of our ability, to stop both unauthorized parties and chronic party houses.

These include anti-party reservation prevention, special holiday anti-party measures, a 24-hour safety line, our Neighborhood Support Line, and a partnership with Vrbo to share information on repeat “party house” offenders in the US.

This new and long-term policy was enacted to help encourage and support community safety. We look forward to sharing updates in the coming weeks and months on our efforts to complement our community policies on parties.


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