Some apartment owners in New South Wales could be banned from renting out their properties on Airbnb, after the State Government reached a compromise position on laws governing short-term holiday rentals.
Strata owners corporations will be given the power to pass by-laws that prevent short-term letting in their block if the host does not live in the unit they are letting out.
The new scheme was unveiled by Better Regulations Minister Matt Kean.
It targets investors who buy up apartments to put on Airbnb, but allows owner-occupiers to continue renting spare rooms or entire units while they are not at home.
The deal is a compromise reached after a backbench revolt in the Coalition joint partyroom.
Mr Kean has previously tried to push through a package of changes that did not allow strata owners corporations to prevent the use of Airbnb in their buildings.
He conceded it had been a complex issue to resolve.
“We’ve been grappling with how to regulate this industry for a little over two years,” he said.
“There is genuinely a diversity of opinion across both the partyroom and the community … but I’m confident this package has got the balance right.”
Limit of 180 days per year
Under the changes announced today, hosts based in the greater Sydney area will also only be allowed to rent out their homes for up to 180 nights a year.
There will be no automatic cap in regional areas, but councils can choose to impose their own limits.
Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said the caps aimed to ensure that Airbnb and other platforms did not have any negative impact on rental affordability.
“Sydney has a huge rental market and we don’t want to see any unintended consequences,” Mr Roberts said.
A mandatory code of conduct will be developed for online accommodation platforms to address issues like noise levels and disruptive guests.
Guests and hosts who commit two serious breaches of the code of conduct within two years will be banned from all short-term holiday platforms for five years.
“We are about to introduce the toughest laws in the world when it comes to bad behaviour,” Mr Kean said.
NSW Fair Trading will appoint independent adjudicators to assess complaints against the code and will maintain an online register of strikes.
Businesses that breach the code will face fines of up to $1.1 million, while individuals could face fines of more than $200,000.