New Laws to Regulate Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rental accommodation hosts, guests, letting agents and online booking platform operators will soon be subject to strict new laws with a mandatory Code of Conduct for the industry to begin in December.

Member for Manly James Griffin said the new Code, which was released earlier this week, includes clear guidance and obligations for hosts and guests centred on minimum standards of good behaviour.

Also included are 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.

“The popularity of short-term rentals in Manly and the Northern Beaches in particular has skyrocketed in recent years, and is only set to continue with what is shaping up to be an important domestic summer holiday season,” Mr Griffin said.

“While the short-term rental sector has been growing strongly, what has been missing is a clear set of rules to protect the rights of both hosts, guests and neighbours and which put mutual respect and safety front and centre.

“The NSW Government is introducing these laws as part of our broad reform of the sector. Together, they 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 in NSW.”

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson 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,” Mr 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.”

All participants, including booking platforms, will be required to comply with the Code and comply with directions and requests from the Commissioner.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is 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.

The Code of Conduct, which can be viewed here, will come into force on 18 December 2020.

For additional information, please visit the Fair Trading website.