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WA revs up for STRA reforms

By Orana Durney-Benson
22 April 2024 | 9 minute read
sue ellery reb qunfmx

The State Parliament has given the go-ahead to new legislation to tighten regulation of short-term rental accommodation (STRA).

Going forward, all STRA accommodation in Western Australia will be required to be included on a state register.

The register is forecast to launch on 1 July 2024, and will be operated through Consumer Protection. Both hosted properties – where the owner lives onsite, such as letting out a spare room – and unhosted properties – where the owner lives offsite and guests have exclusive use of the whole property – must be included on the register.

Once the register is up and running, all owners must list their registration number whenever advertising their short-term rental online, including on online platforms like Airbnb and Stayz.

Sue Ellery, Western Australia’s Commerce Minister, stated that the new registration scheme “will, for the first time, provide up-to-date data on the STRA sector in WA, including how many there are, where they are located and how they are used”.

“It will also provide the community with information about what STRA exists in their area and benefit guests by allowing them to confirm that their chosen accommodation is registered,” she said.

Under the newly passed legislation, a second reform will take place: every unhosted STRA property in the Perth metropolitan area may be rented out for no more than 90 days per year.

The change follows in the footsteps of other states and regions, such as Byron Shire in NSW, that similarly introduced tight caps to free up more homes for local renters.

Elsewhere in the state, unhosted STRA properties will be subject to planning approval at the discretion of their local councils. This includes the Peel region of Western Australia, home to major cities like Mandurah.

Hosted STRA properties will not be subject to planning approvals anywhere in the state.

“Unhosted STRA properties in the Perth metropolitan area will require development approval if they are rented out for more than 90 days in a 12-month period, while in regional areas, including Peel, the relevant local government will determine when planning approval is required,” explained Planning Minister John Carey.

Individuals who provide false or misleading information during application or who advertise without a registration will face penalties of up to $20,000, while corporations will face penalties of up to $100,000.

“We acknowledge the important role that STRA plays in WA’s overall tourism offering and I am confident the new laws strike the right balance between better regulation of STRA throughout the state and the rights of individual property owners,” said Ellery.

It’s a stance that was recently echoed by Airbnb, which stated that it “welcomes regulation” to ensure that “hosting on Airbnb and the economic activity it creates makes communities stronger”.

The new STRA reforms follow hot on the heels of broader rental reforms that were passed in Western Australia’s State Parliament on Thursday, including a ban on rental bidding.

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