‘Toughest’ Airbnb laws pass NSW parliament

After their announcement in June, new laws introducing a cap on the number of days properties can be short-term letted out, a code of conduct and a two-strikes policy have passed NSW parliament.

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Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the reforms would bolster the sharing economy while clamping down on unruly guests.

“Our plan is a win-win. It acknowledges the huge financial contribution online booking platforms make to the NSW economy, but also takes a zero-tolerance approach to raucous guests,” Mr Kean said.

One element of the reforms was a mandatory code of conduct which Mr Kean said industry stakeholders and NSW Fair Trading were developing to manage guests.

The mandatory code will come into force next year and will apply to platforms such as Airbnb, as well as letting agents, hosts and guests across the State.


“Under our ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy, hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the code within two years will be banned for five years, and be listed on an exclusion register,” Mr Kean said.

Amendments are also being made to the Strata Schemes Management Act which will allow owner’s corporations to pass by-laws to ban short-term letting in their block.

“I’ve asked NSW Fair Trading to develop ‘what you can and can’t do’ guidelines to help owners’ corporations set rules that suit their strata schemes,” Mr Kean said.

Back when Mr Kean announced the reforms, he claimed that they were “the toughest laws in the country and will make sure residents are protected while ensuring that hosts who do the right thing are not penalised”, as published previously.

The legislation has been met with praise from Airbnb Australia country manager Sam McDonagh who said the bill was a recognition of the way people travelled.

“The NSW government’s fair and balanced laws will protect people’s rights and support healthy tourism,” he said.

Mr McDonagh said Airbnb would work with the government in their implementation. 

"We are committed to working collaboratively to implement these new laws," he said.

At the time the legislation was announced, Simon Pressley of Propertyology claimed it would turn people away from short-term letting.

“They [politicians] wouldn’t be that stupid to think that, ’Okay, [people] can rent a room or a house out for 180 days,’ you’re not going to do that, because you’ve got to find time when you can no longer do it, so you already know in advance, ‘I can't do this,’ so people won’t just do it,” Mr Pressley said to Smart Property Investment. 

“They’ll rent it out in the more conventional sense on a full-time lease to a permanent person, like six months or 12 months as we normally do for a house or an apartment. The government would have to know that in putting that piece of legislation there, I would think.”

Lisa Peterson, managing director, also said in June, at the time the reforms, would mean property owners would need to work harder in order to make up the time they cannot short-term let out their property.

“Investors will also need to work harder and smarter to build corporate relationships to secure longer term bookings on those off-peak/six monthly periods. This will all depend on how the law will be structured and how the constitution is written in terms of the policies, policing and implementing these changes.”


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