Homesharing sites such as Airbnb will be regulated for the first time in NSW as the state government looks to legalise the booming short-term letting industry.
The move follows a NSW parliamentary inquiry in 2016, which recommended allowing home owners to list their properties on short-term accommodation platforms such as Airbnb or Stayz without the risk of hefty fines.
The Berejiklian government says it’s accepted many of the recommendations but is yet to finalise the details of the regulatory framework.
“The government will be releasing a consultation paper on potential regulatory approaches to short-term holiday letting in the near future,” it said in response to the final report of the inquiry.
Only 12 NSW councils currently allow home owners to let their properties for short stays.
Other councils have cracked down on the practice by fining hosts who let out their accommodation.
The parliamentary inquiry recommended a single set of rules for sites such as Airbnb, including allowing homes to be let unless doing so exceeds an “impact threshold”.
The report also suggested the NSW government work closely with councils to ensure stricter regulations and penalties for potential party houses.
It received a mixed response, with some resident groups arguing strata managers should retain the power to ban short-term lets, with the practice driving up rents in NSW.
The government says it will consider changing strata regulations “to give owners corporations more powers” to manage so-called party houses.
It would also support the industry taking “a strong approach to self-regulation through its own code of conduct”.
There are more than 33,000 Airbnb listings in NSW, including 17,000 in Greater Sydney alone.
The average Airbnb host in NSW earns $4500 a year from sharing their home, the company estimates.
Tourism Accommodation Australia chief executive Carol Giuseppi has urged the government to enforce regulations to prevent commercial operators operating “quasi-hotels” that don’t comply with safety regulations or insurance and taxation requirements.
“The government can learn from cities around the world that have recently introduced strict regulations to counter the negative effects – particularly for housing and rental affordability – caused by the unfettered growth of unregulated commercial short-term stays,” Ms Giuseppi said in a statement.
“We would encourage the government to develop a new regulatory environment that allows the tourism sector to grow but not at the expense of residents and legitimate operators.”