Short term rental accomodation

Background

Short term rental accommodation is the leasing of residential properties for the purpose of temporary holiday accommodation for tourists and visitors.  It is a form of tourist accommodation that has become common in the Byron Shire.  While holiday letting contributes to the local economy it can also result in significant negative impacts on residential amenity such as increased noise and illegal car parking.

To provide for STHL and address potential adverse impacts on residential amenity Council wanted to include provisions in key planning documents to manage issues arising from complaints.

This was not supported by the NSW Department of Planning and as a result the proposed provisions were omitted from the Byron LEP 2014. 

Holiday letting is not a new issue. Council resolutions, brought about due to the rise in complaints, on the subject of STHL date back to 2003. Complaints include:

  • prohibited development in residential areas
  • loss of neighbourhood amenity
  • noise and antisocial behaviour, particularly from late-night parties
  • excessive numbers of people and cars
  • parking which may block driveways or impede visibility and traffic movement
  • excess or poorly managed garbage.

In addition to these adverse impacts, housing affordability and stock have also became an issue with houses being purchased specifically for holiday letting purposes, therefore decreasing the available stock in the rental market.

The STHL industry in NSW has expanded significantly in recent years. In response to this, in 2016 the NSW Government conducted a public inquiry on the Adequacy of Regulation of Short Term Holiday Letting in NSW (the Inquiry).

An Options Paper was released by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment responding to the 12 recommendations made in the Inquiry’s final report (published on 19 October 2016). The Options Paper included options on greater industry self-regulation, registration or licensing of STHL operators, changes to strata laws and regulation through the planning system.

NSW Government Short-Term Holiday Letting Reforms

The NSW Parliament passed the Government’s short-term holiday letting reforms on 14 August 2018. 

The new framework is expected to start in 2019. The framework  will introduce state-wide planning rules and an industry-wide mandatory Code of Conduct.

Proposed amendments to planning rules were placed on exhibition between 5 October and 16 November 2018. The Department are currently considering the feedback received.

For information regarding the mandatory Code of Conduct and strata regulations, visit the NSW Fair Trading website or contact the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.

To keep updated on the planning reforms, visit the Short-term rental accommodation page Department of Planning & Environment's website.

Short-term holiday rental in the Byron Shire

On 11 February 2019, the Minister for Planning and Housing announced that due to the high concentration and unique impacts of STHL on some parts of Byron Shire, he would issue a Ministerial Direction (3.7). This invites the Byron Shire Council to prepare a Planning Proposal that could introduce a 90 day threshold in the most impacted towns of the Local Government Area. This Planning Proposal process would include impact assessment and consultation with communities.

Updates to the Planning Proposal will be available on this page.

NSW Government Enquiry Submission

Council’s submission to the inquiry advises the NSW State Government that Council does not accept a standard State wide approach to this issue, given our circumstances to that of other local government areas in NSW in relation to short term holiday letting. That as such, a multi faceted regulation framework as detailed below is sought by Council to address this issue locally.

Council's submission(PDF, 477KB)

 

NSW Government Response to submissions

The NSW Government announced a new regulatory framework to govern the short-term holiday letting industry on 5 June 2018. A Notice of Motion was presented to Council at the Ordinary Meeting 21 June 2018 on same. The new framework includes amendments to planning laws, an industry Code of Conduct and new provisions for strata scheme by-laws.

Council wrote to the Minister for Planning to seek a deferral of Byron Shire from the new state-wide planning policy (pause to implementation) to enable a full consideration of the impact of the changes to short term holiday let in Byron Shire in terms of environmental, social and economic impacts; and also to enable Council to tailor a local response to planning and regulation through either the state-wide policy or Byron local environmental plan provisions.

The NSW Government has since announced its Framework for short-term rental accommodation (STRA) in NSW. 

Feedback is currently being sought on the proposed amendments to the planning rules. An Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) has been prepared detailing the proposed amendments. You can view the EIE and proposed amendments by following the link below:

NSW Department of Planning - Amendments to planning rules to provide for short-term rental accommodation in NSW

Council's submission to the proposed amendments is included in the 22 November 2018 Ordinary meeting agenda.

Click here to read the report.

 

 

Another important impact of holiday letting is the effect it has on affordable housing and rental stock.

Housing in Byron Shire is expensive and out of reach for many people. Byron Shire Council is trying to do what it can to make housing cheaper. Admittedly, Council cannot control house prices. However, it can:

  • Provide development incentives to encourage more housing; and
  • Work with the community to ensure housing is provided to permanent residents.

In 2011, Council decided to exempt certain secondary dwellings from development contributions. However, the exemption was only for dwellings which provided a home for permanent residents and consents were conditioned to restrict tourist and visitor accommodation.  

This exemption has been keenly taken up by many home owners. However, Council continues to hear from community members who are worried that many secondary dwellings are being used to make money from tourism.

There is no doubt Byron Shire’s popularity as a tourist destination means many home owners want to make money on their property from tourism. But in some cases, this can come at a cost to the wider community.

Council recently resolved that it would employ enforcement action on properties acting outside their development consent, by using their properties in contradiction of development consent conditions that do not permit the use for tourism purposes.

In the absence of specific holiday letting provisions, the use of dwellings for short-term holiday accommodation falls within the Standard LEP Template definition of ‘tourist and visitor accommodation’ and is a prohibited land use in the residential zones of the Byron LEP 2014.  Tourist and visitor accommodation is permitted with consent in the B2 Local Centre zone and SP3 Tourist zone. 

However, under Byron LEP 2014 a one bedroom bed and breakfast establishment is exempt development, subject to the basic standards for exempt development.

 

Council recently resolved to undertake enforcement action on short term holiday let accommodation where there is reasonable suspicion of unauthorised activities occurring on the site. Further, any such holiday letting complaints/investigation will be assessed and investigated in investigated in accordance with Council’s Enforcement Policy.