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Is regulation for short-term rentals coming to Australia?

On Friday 20th July the NSW government released a new Options Paper for Short-Term Holiday Letting in NSW, inviting individuals, communities, councils and industry representatives to provide further feedback and opinions on regulating short term letting on a State rather than council basis. With the new feedback round, a new legislation is not to be expected until July 2018.

The option paper is based on the “short-term rental friendly” 18-months parliamentary enquiry from April this year, which received broad support by the NSW government for 9 out of the 12 recommendations around regulating short term rentals.

The new option paper focuses on ways of self-regulation with new reporting and complaints processes. Other hot items are the introduction of a revenue share right for Strata buildings, a ban of party houses in residential zones, a clear complaints process for neighbours and a registration model to keep track of short term lettings. All in all, sharing your home or property will unlikely be limited or restricted but made more formal and transparent.

A self-regulatory legislation will be positive for everyone involved

“Whilst restrictions and legislation are seen as negative by some, we believe that the expected self-regulatory legislation changes will be positive for everyone involved”, says Quirin Schwaighofer, Co-Founder and COO of MadeComfy. “We welcome the open discussion created by the NSW government. Rather than banning short term rentals or limiting the number of days you can rent out your property, the option paper looks at several solutions to deal with non-complying property owners and guests. Nobody wants to live next to a noisy or misbehaving neighbour with no ways to complain. At MadeComfy we have even stricter house rules in place than most by-laws do and enable building managers and neighbours to raise a complaint. We enforce these rules strictly and have a 24/7 service to act on violations.”

Whilst there are several voices around the negative impact of short term rentals, there has not been much proof to support that claim. According to councils of the City of Sydney, Randwick and Waverly, there have been none to only a few complaints over the last 12 months despite the 12,096 current Airbnb listings in these suburbs.

Sydney property owners under mortgage stress

The discussion around the introduction of a state-wide short term letting legislation comes at a time where short term letting often is the only way for Sydney property owners to finance their home or investment property.

“A primary reason for the growth in short-term rentals is the decreasing affordability of property in Sydney. As the median property price in Sydney has now reached over 1 million dollars, households are dedicating an average of 44 per cent of their income to service their mortgages. It means Sydney property owners are considered under ‘mortgage stress’ as they are devoting more than 30 per cent of their income to mortgage repayments. Either by renting a spare room or the whole property, for many property owners, Airbnb and similar platforms provide a means to obtain an income to help cover their mortgage repayments”, says Sabrina Bethunin, MadeComfy's Co-Founder & CEO.

MadeComfy provides an end-to-end property management service, which means property owners don’t need to do a thing when they hand over their keys. MadeComfy makes the process of earning greater returns from short-term renting effortless, achieving up to 40% more than long-term rentals and self-managed Airbnb listings. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

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