As borders open up and interstate travel resumes, short-term letting options are finally picking up pace again in Australia. But before posting your apartment on Airbnb for the first time, here are some important factors to consider in NSW, including short-term letting bylaws, hosting a place that isn’t your principal residence, and issues around noisy guests.
Whether you’re planning on hosting your Airbnb guests or letting them have the place to themselves, short-term rental accommodation listings are allowed to operate all year round across NSW.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule in Greater Sydney and nominated regional NSW local government areas, where unhosted short-term rental accommodation listings are limited to 180 days per year. More information can be found on the government’s website.
Is the apartment your principal place of residence?
Since 10 April 2020, new rules for owners corporations in NSW are able to limit short-term rental accommodation in their strata scheme when the place isn’t the host’s principal residence.
On the other hand, if you live in a strata property as your principal place of residence, you are allowed to rent out your home or rooms either while you’re living there or while you are temporarily away. Check your local bylaws to ensure you’re all above board, especially if the apartment isn’t your principal place of residence.
Register your short-term rental
The new rules also state that any short-term rental within NSW now has to be registered. This empowers strata should there be any issues with the short-term rental.
For example, if you’re renting your two-bedroom apartment out to 10 people, strata are now not only able to take action against you but can stop you from letting the apartment out again.
This means it’s even more important to properly vet your guests before they stay, perhaps through guest reviews from previous stays at other properties.
Stricter rules for bad guest behaviour in NSW
As of 18 December 2020, NSW Fair Trading has introduced a new code of conduct that strengthens protections against bad guest behaviour. This includes ensuring guests do not make unreasonable noise that disrupts, harms or offends neighbours.
Guests must not cause damage to the premises they are staying in, including damage to common property in a strata building or neighbouring properties. They must not act in a violent or threatening manner towards neighbours or other occupants of the premises.
To help put this into practice, hosts are obliged to hold insurance that covers liability for third-party injuries and death and ensure neighbours are able to contact them (or an authorised representative) with any concerns between 8am and 5pm every day. You’re also obliged to provide guests with your contact details (or an authorised representative), as well as contact details of an emergency electrician, plumber and the Australian emergency services.
All buildings will have a unique set of bylaws, which determine different levels of acceptable noise in different areas and which types of noise can be made. Every building is different, so it’s important to see what’s been written specifically for your building. Ultimately, if you’re looking to host your place on Airbnb anywhere in Australia, do your research and ensure you’re complying with all bylaws for your building and council area.
Vice-president of SCA (NSW) Emily Doherty has been a proactive member of the strata industry for 15 years.