Rentals available in Yamba right now.
Rentals available in Yamba right now. Airbnb

'A policy for investors': Short-term rental woes

THE NSW Government's short-term holiday rental proposal falls short of community expectations with Yamba resident Geoff Beresford calling for more controls.

Mr Beresford said their short-term holiday rental policy proposal, which gives all short-term holiday rental hosts a minimum of 180 days of occupation across the state, doesn't meet the needs of the community.

Short-term holiday rentals has been a hot topic in the Clarence Valley in recent months with residents in Yamba calling for action against residents who are unlawfully renting out their properties for short-term rentals in low-density zoned areas.

"If owners or hosts are present whenever their homes are used as short-term rentals then many problems are avoided, and the tourism that results is welcomed," MrBeresford said.

"It is properties that are rented without owners or hosts present that is the problem.

There is nothing in the current proposals to prevent owners of unoccupied units or houses from becoming commercially operated short-term rentals without restriction.

"This is how the proposals fail, there is potential for local councils to lose control over Local Environment Plan. And the growth in commercial-style rental accommodation in R2a low-density residential zones could not be controlled.

"This would effectively remove the right of residents to purchase or live in low-density residential zones, free of commercial tourists' accommodation. It is not being over-dramatic to say it would effectively mean the end of low-density residential neighbourhoods as we know it."

>>>RELATED STORY: Tourism or terrorism? The short-term holiday let debacle

Mr Beresford said the proposal doesn't put tight enough restrictions on investors who use short-term rentals as a business model.

 

 

1 - Chris Gulaptis
1 - Chris Gulaptis Adam Hourigan

"The proposals favours investors who don't occupy houses or units and seriously disadvantages existing commercial accommodation providers who pay commercial council rates and other government fees," he said."

Mr Beresford said the classing of short-term rentals as 'exempt development' with no building obligations was unfair when commercial accommodation providers were bound by stricter rules.

"Owners of short-term rental investments are not required to comply with these fees or regulations," he said.

"There is nothing to prevent the large-scale growth of this style of short-term accommodation, and the Clarence Valley could well face the same problems encountered by Byron Bay. If our local commercial operators suffer, how many hospitality jobs could be lost?"

>>>RELATED STORY: Two-strike plan at heart of short-term holiday rental policy

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the unregulated industry would now have controls which could be tweaked following a trial period.

"The problem in regard to party houses is solved by the two-strike policy, if you are a party house and there are complaints made against you ... twice, then you will be taken off the list," he said.

"We don't want to over-regulate, but we certainly want to regulate.

"At the moment it is totally unregulated, some regulations are going to be better than no regulations."

Mr Beresford urged anyone who believed low-density residential areas should be preserved and disagreed with the government's proposal should contact Mr Gulaptis.

Geoff Beresford's full letter to The Daily Examiner:

Response to news article 'It's more than enough" re short-term rentals.

I write in response to this article (page 3-9 June, 2018) and comments made by Ms Wells. I support her comments regarding people being hosts in their own home and renting part of their home on a short term basis. If owners or hosts are present whenever their homes are used as short term rentals then many problems are avoided, and the tourism that results is welcomed. It is properties that are rented without owners or hosts present that is the problem. There is nothing in the current proposals to prevent owners of unoccupied units or houses from becoming commercially operated short term rentals without restriction.

RELATED STORY: It's 'more than enough'

This is how the proposals fail, there is potential for local councils to lose control over Local Environment Plans (LEP's). And the growth in commercial style rental accommodation in R2a low density residential zones could not be controlled. This would effectively remove the right of residents to purchase or live in low density residential zones, free of commercial tourists accommodation. It is not being over dramatic to say, It would effectively mean the end of low density residential neighbourhoods, as we know it.

In the Clarence Valley there exists a balance between low density residential zones and other zones that permit short term rental properties. Our Council is working toward maintaining this balance. However, this could be totally disregarded if councils lose the authority to manage LEP's It is also unfair that the 3 major CBD area of Newcastle, Sydney & Wollongong are restricted to a short term rental cap of 180 days. Regions outside these areas can allow short term rentals of 365 days per year, unless local councils wish to restrict it to no less than 180 days.

 

Pamela Wells, the owner of Fairlight Cottage in Seelands, has been  using Airbnb and Stayz to bring in business to her bnb.
Pamela Wells, the owner of Fairlight Cottage in Seelands, has been using Airbnb and Stayz to bring in business to her bnb. Caitlan Charles

The proposals favours investors who don't occupy houses or units and seriously disadvantages existing commercial accommodation providers, who pay commercial council rates and other government fees. They must also ensure all building codes are complied with regarding fire/safety & health. Disabled access must also be provided. Investors get a free pass.

The proposals class short term rental properties as 'exempt development' with no building code obligations. These should be classed as 'complying development', to ensure the properties meet the same standards as other commercial accommodation providers.

Owners of short term rental investments are not required to comply with these fees or regulations. Whilst they are operating as a commercial enterprise, up to 365 days per year, they are exempt, unlike 'legitimate commercial providers'. There is nothing to prevent the large scale growth of this style of short term accommodation, and the Clarence Valley could well face the same problems encountered by Byron Bay. If our local commercial operators suffer, how many hospitality jobs could be lost?

The proposal attempts to convince us that there will an economic boost as a result of the proposals. However, as owners are restricted to 180 day rental periods in the major centres, then the economic benefit exists for only 6 months per year. If a property is leased on a long term basis then the local economy benefits all year. Research shows long term tenants contribute far more to local communities than a rollover of short term holiday tenants.

Lastly, the government wants to hand control of short term rentals over to the Department of Fair Trading. Do you believe that this department has the resources to properly monitor and manage the many thousands of short term rentals across NSW? The ABC News reports Airbnb listings in Australia grew from 43,610 in 2016 to 89,863 in December 2017, according to Inside Airbnb.

This only accounts for Airbnb listings, there are many more listed with other websites and real estate agents. Short term rentals should be permitted in accordance with Airbnb's original concept, that is properties with owners or hosts to be present during any rental period. This could easily be applied to all short term rentals.

The Govt's. Proposals have not been passed yet. If you believe low density residential areas should be preserved and disagree with the proposals then you should write to our local member.



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