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Stayz urges Byron to show patience on rental regulations

UPDATE 3.30pm: HOLIDAY rental website, Stayz said Byron Shire Council's proposed new regulations for short-term rental accommodation will only cover one part of the sector and will fail to resolve the key questions about the impact of holiday rentals.

Byron Shire Council today released proposed new rules for holiday rental accommodation that includes a 90-day cap for most parts of Byron Shire and new planning restrictions for holiday homes.

Stayz Corporate Affairs Director, Eacham Curry said that the proposed rules will only capture one segment of the entire short-term rental accommodation sector.

"Stayz understands the desire for action by local governments, however night caps and arbitrary restrictions will fail to resolve the most commonly cited questions about holiday rental accommodation," Mr Curry said.

"Night caps and other use restrictions for holiday rentals not only put the economic uplift associated with the tourism sector at risk, but also fail to address the four most consistently raised questions about our industry, namely; housing affordability, housing availability, the impact on government resources and service provision, and finally, impact on neighbourhood amenity.

"Stayz advocates for state-wide regulation that contains a simple registration scheme for all holiday rental listings, a code of conduct that is backed by a strikes-based disciplinary regime, and an industry body to adjudicate compliance with the code of conduct.

"Rather than jumping straight to onerous night caps and use restrictions, Byron Shire Council should wait until NSW Government introduces its register for holiday rentals and let the data that is collected point to solutions that will address the key concerns of locals," Mr Curry concluded.

Stayz's key state-wide policy recommendations for the NSW Government are:

  • Compulsory and simple registration for all properties listed on a short-term rental accommodation platform, that will help inform sensible and easily understood policy.
  • The creation of a mandatory short-term rental code of conduct for owners and managers - including a three strikes rule for those who do not meet the standards.
  • A new largely industry-funded and administered body to quickly address problems and adjudicate questions about amenity, noise and overcrowding at short-term rental accommodation properties.

ORIGINAL STORY: BYRON Shire has the highest number of Airbnb's per head of population in the world, according to Victims Of Holiday Letting (VOHL).

The news has prompted the group to invite residents to have their say on capping holiday letting to 90 days in residential zones through Byron Shire Council after claims there were 3,305 properties listed as of September, with an estimated 40 per cent in Byron Bay alone, up 13.5 per cent in the last year.

State Planning has invited Council to apply for a 90 Days Cap for Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) in most residential zones.

Doug Luke, Convenor of VOHL, said "residential amenity, whole neighborhoods and affordable housing are being destroyed".

He stated for more than a decade the group's position had been that "planning law should be applied by the council to all STRA in Residential Zones where it is still a prohibited and illegal activity without development consent".

However, VOHL has said they support the 90 Days Cap, but argue "it should be applied equally across the shire without exception of 'tourist hotspots', where there is a large number of permanent residents living."

"The Shire's approved B and B operators have complied with a very detailed DA process requiring considerable fees and charges," Mr Luke said.

"Holiday let owners applying for a DA should follow a similar process for the sake of fairness and safety."

"For registration, the council will need to check that the number of bedrooms listed abides by the current DA. VOHL is aware of illegal conversions into extra bedrooms."

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has advised that STRA owners would need to purchase public liability insurance for registration.

VOHL said they suggested a minimum of $20 million cover would be appropriate.

Council has stated that non-hosted STRA on bush fire and flood prone land will require development consent.

The DPIE has said that an STRA on bush fire prone land with a Bushfire Attack Level of 40 or Flame Zone is unlikely to receive development consent.

The Rural Fire Service advised that the safety risks are too high.

Go to www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/holiday-letting to support a 90 Days Cap across all residential zones. Link closes January 30 2020.


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