NSW introduces strict new laws to regulate short-term rental market

London, UK - July 31, 2018: The buttons of the travel app Airbnb, surrounded by Amazon, ebay, News and other apps on the screen of an iPhone.

The NSW government has introduced a strict new set of laws with a mandatory code of conduct for short-term rentals like Airbnb properties to begin in December.

According to the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, the new code includes clear guidance and obligations for hosts, letting agents, online booking platform operators and guests centred on minimum standards of good behaviour.

The code also includes formal avenues for complaints and dispute resolution and the ability for NSW Fair Trading to ban problematic hosts or anti-social guests from booking short-term rentals for five years.

“Together, they [the new laws] will ensure the minority of participants who are giving the sector a bad name are removed and the short-term rental sector is improved for hosts, guests and communities,” Anderson said.

The state’s regulation and innovation minister said a key feature of the new laws was the establishment of an exclusion register, which will introduce a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy for unruly guests.

“We have all heard the horror stories of hosts doing the wrong thing or the house guests from hell behaving disgracefully in holiday rentals,” Anderson said.

“If you are going to carry on like that in someone else’s house or neighbourhood, be warned – under these new rules you will be banned, and for a very long time.

“The standards are enforceable, with powers available to NSW Fair Trading Commissioner to take disciplinary action, including penalties and exclusion from the industry for repeat offenders.”

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is also developing a government-run premises register and state environmental planning policy for short-term rental accommodation which will round out the reforms to this sector and launch in 2021.

Accommodation Association CEO Dean Long said it is in the sector’s interests and in the interests of hosts and consumers and those living close to these properties that the appropriate frameworks for safe and appropriate operation are in place.

“As the sole accommodation and tourism association on the Code of Conduct Advisory committee, we are pleased to have played a role in shaping this outcome, which assists to protect employment and investment in our sector,” he said.

“While we would have preferred that all parts of the framework were delivered at the same time and prior to the Christmas holidays, there will be the beginnings of a robust compliance platform in place.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the NSW government on the detail of the registration system and congratulate them on their national leadership on short-term rental regulation.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW chief executive Michael Johnson said the new code of conduct will help level the playing field for established accommodation hotels.

“TAA thanks the NSW government for listening to our concerns and implementing these much-needed changes,” he said.

“With the new code of conduct and registration and planning laws in place, we can hope to see a regulated short-term rental accommodation environment that complements the accommodation sector rather disrupting it.”


Image source: iStock/stockcam

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