Airbnb and strata – what you should know about short-term letting

Are property owners and committees keeping pace with the growing popularity of short-term letting in the holiday season? Here’s what is happening in the states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

 

As travel and tourism spikes in the holiday season around Christmas and the new year, short-term letting will invariably see a boom across the country. So, whether you’re a property owner thinking of using Airbnb or a manager looking to solve problems caused by hosts and guests, here’s what you should know about short-term letting:

1. The short-term letting laws for your state

Keep track of your state laws and proposed changes in legislation on the subject. In line with market trends, state governments are always making necessary amendments to have more robust regulations in place. So, make sure you’re informed and legally in the clear.

NSW: The government has announced a new legislation called the framework for Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) in June this year. Developed by The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, this framework establishes a mandatory Code of Conduct with stricter strata regulations which will apply to anyone involved in providing or using short-term rental accommodation. This includes hosts, guests, property investors, online booking platforms, and letting agents.

VIC: In February 2019, there will be amendments to the Owners Corporations Act 2006 to regulate short-term letting in the state. Any short-stay arrangements that are leases or licenses for a period of seven days and six nights will come under the scanner.

QLD: Queensland’s laws are quite relaxed for Airbnb-type short-term letting of private property. In the last two years, the number of Airbnb listings in the state has spiked steeply, according to a report by the University of Sydney. While many people are not quite happy about the state’s lax stance towards the trend and are asking for stricter state laws to regulate short-term letting, tourism has benefited from holiday rentals in coastal towns.

2. The by-laws or rules of your property for short-term letting

Even if your state allows it, you still need to comply with your community’s by-laws and rules to ensure your plans do not cause trouble for others living in your community. Holidays are all about having a good time and socialising. If your guest’s loud parties or carelessness with a shared property disrupts the life of your neighbour, that’s not a good thing.

NSW: The state’s short-term holiday letting plan allows strata committees to enforce specific by-laws that address the impact on residents lives such as problematic guests, noise levels, health and safety issues and shared neighbourhood amenities. Also, this plan allows strata managers to oversee owners corporations to adopt by-laws to stop short-term letting in their block if the host does not live in the unit being let out.

VIC: One of the proposals for protecting community shared property allows owners corporations to charge apartment owners and hosts a higher fee for short term letting. These fees are meant to cover any wear and tear to common areas from short-stay activities. Owners corporations can adopt rules for the protection of shared property and penalise the host as well as the occupant for any damages to shared amenities.

QLD: The Sunshine state does not allow body corporates to enforce restrictions through by-laws in the area of short-term letting. This means that if you’re a property owner and you choose to let out your residential unit on Airbnb, the body corporate cannot stop you doing so.

3. Resolving issues from short-term letting on shared properties

Holidays or not, everyone has the right to a peaceful, safe and secure living in a shared property. If your neighbour’s short term letting plans or their tenants’ activities are causing you problems, you can lodge a complaint with your or committee or manager, and they will take the necessary actions on your behalf.

If you’re the party causing trouble with your short-stay letting, you may be fined for any damages. In some cases, you may also be prohibited from letting out your apartment for short stays in the future for a certain period.

There are a lot of grey areas in legislation and things are always in flux. The state governments continue to work towards updating regulations to protect the rights of property owners, tenants, managing committees and regulators. In the meantime, you can always reach out to your manager for information, advice and help.

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