Fines for unauthorised Airbnb properties in NSW have jumped a staggering 500 per cent under new strata laws. What does this mean for short-term letting and what do PMs need to know?
Companies such Airbnb may not have invented short-term letting, but they have its prevalence, much to the anger of homeowners and landlords.
“We have heard from a number of owners and tenants who are worried that an increase in short stays such as those facilitated by Airbnb will create security and compliance risks in their buildings,” PICA Group’s managing director and group CEO, Greg Nash, said.
Mr Nash said this is especially relevant during holiday periods such as Christmas and New Year, with people hoping to rent their properties for short stays.
“The fear is around having a revolving parade of unknown short-term tenants in a building can make long-term tenants feel unsafe or potentially create a nuisance. While the majority of short-term guests are undoubtedly perfectly behaved, there is always a risk of damage to common areas and undesirable behaviour from short-term guests,” he said.
However, the new strata laws suggest there has been a resistance against short-term lets in buildings not designed for them.
“The bottom line is that an owners corporation cannot have something like Airbnb forced upon them. The person wanting to run the Airbnb must satisfy any number of legal requirements first and, even then, the owners corporation has a right to put a stop to it through the by-laws,” Mr Nash said.
“If a person in a building is running an Airbnb illegally, many councils are happy to prosecute as they are empowered to enforce zoning and local environmental plan requirements. Additionally, if the person is in breach of a by-law limiting occupancy, they can be subject to fines of $5,500 for the first offence and up to $11,000 for a second offence, with the money going to the owners corporation, not the state.”