An aerial view of Murwillumbah.
An aerial view of Murwillumbah. Josh Northeast

Accommodation giant slams council over short-term rentals

A LEADING Australian accommodation website has hit out at Tweed Shire Council for "jumping the gun" after it cracked down on Air BnBs and other short-term holiday rentals.

The Tweed Shire Council is threatening property owners who provide short-term rentals with $3000 fines unless they cancel bookings and cease illegal operations, due to the belief the accomodation is driving residents away from the area.

"Local residents are now being forced to move away from the Tweed Shire area as there are no places for long-term rentals," council documents state.

"This is causing a loss of community. Residents have sold up and moved away because of poor behaviour by short-term rental tenants nearby and by the lure of the high prices being offered.

"This leads to a loss of community as there is a shortage of long-term residents and an influx of constantly turning over tenants who have no local ties and no desire to fit in."

But leading holiday rental website Stayz said the council was acting prematurely by imposing new restrictive holiday rental regulations.

Stayz spokesperson Ben Wray said while it was understandable council was seeking to improve neighbourhood amenity, the NSW Government already planned to bring in sweeping new regulations for the industry, including a new code of conduct.

 

Short-stay accomodation like Air BnB has been banned in the Tweed.
Short-stay accomodation like Air BnB has been banned in the Tweed. Christian Morrow

"Stayz condemns all instances of anti-social and bad behaviour in holiday rental accommodation. However, we believe the best way to deal with the small minority of problematic listings and travellers is through consistent, state-wide regulation," Mr Wray said.

"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."

Mr Wray said state regulation would hold the industry accountable and let regulators deal with complaints quickly without losing the economy boost that the accommodation provides.

He said Stayz was urging all local governments to remain patient while the NSW brings in its new regulations and had provided several policy recommendations to the NSW Government including:

  • 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.


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