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NSW Government needs to differentiate between “genuine sharing” and commercial short-term letting – TAA

October 24, 2016 Business News No Comments Email Email

Australia’s accommodation sector says the recommendations of a NSW Legislative Assembly Committee Inquiry into short-term letting –tabled today in Parliament – were a first-step towards achieving ‘sensible regulation’ of the sector, but that it was important for the State Government to differentiate between genuine sharing and commercial operators involved in the sector.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) said that it had no major issues with a lessening of regulations for property owners who provided genuine share accommodation by offering a room in their house or apartment on an occasional basis.

But TAA called on the NSW Government to ensure that regulations which already existed to restrict short-term letting of whole houses and apartments were clarified and strengthened to protect guests, residents and communities from commercial operators. To achieve this, TAA advocated for a specific time limit to be placed on short-term letting of non-resident properties, which would allow owners to rent out their property while on holidays – but not as a commercial business.

TAA welcomed the Committee’s recommendation designed to protect against the establishment of “party houses”, but TAA said the prospect of inner-city apartment blocks being turned into ‘quasi hotels’ was a greater issue that required more transparent regulation.

Research shows that 37% of Airbnb listings in Sydney are available 365 days a year and being operated as fully commercial property businesses, while InsideAirbnb estimated that 61% of Sydney listings were for full houses or apartments, involving no ‘sharing’.

In a statement, TAA CEO, Carol Giuseppi, said she welcomed the Legislative Assembly Committee Inquiry’s report and while there were areas that required clarification, the accommodation sector was happy to work with the Government to implement “sensible and proportionate regulation” to allow greater flexibility in the sector, while protecting the interests of guests and residents.

“We are not against genuine ‘sharing’, but we believe there needs to be adequate regulations imposed on non-resident commercial property investors – especially multiple-property owners – who rent out full apartments for short term stays,” said Ms Giuseppi.

“With a large supply of apartments coming into the market any relaxation of regulations on commercial short-stay accommodation could have serious implications for resident owners and long-term renters in apartment blocks which are effectively turned into ‘quasi hotels’. It will lead to overcrowding, potential safety and insurance issues, parking problems and, most importantly, higher rents and lower availability for long-term renters.”

“It will also be important for Government to ensure that the online operators who’ve been offering unregulated short-term accommodation are held responsible for only listing compliant properties and ensuring they do not exceed the agreed letting limits.”

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