Short term rental accommodation

Rules for renting out short term accommodation

The NSW Government has implemented a new state-wide regulatory framework for short-term rental accommodation (STRA). The proposed new framework came into effect on 1 November 2021.

What is STRA?

STRA refers to any dwelling that is used for temporary or short-term rental accommodation on a commercial basis, and is usually associated with booking platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz. STRA can be either hosted, or non-hosted. Hosted STRA means the host resides on the premises during the provision of the accommodation. This includes instances where the owner is living on the property but not necessarily in the home being rented, for example homeowners who live on a property with a STRA granny flat. Non-hosted STRA means the host does not reside on the premises during the provision of the accommodation.

What are the new rules?

The new framework has been introduced via amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Key elements of the policy include:

  • An exempt development pathway for hosted STRA for 365 days per year and non-hosted STRA for 180 days a year. The policy also includes an exemption of bookings of 21 consecutive days or more from the day limits for non-hosted STRA
  • Minimum fire safety standards for dwellings used for STRA and associated penalty notice offences for non-compliance
  • Implementation of a new STRA register to ensure compliance with new fire safety standards, as well as tracking day limits of each STRA dwelling.

Can I use my dwelling for STRA?

Any dwelling in the Randwick LGA can be used for STRA if it has been approved for residential accommodation and if the operation can comply with the new exempt development pathway and fire safety standards. You will also need to sign up to the STRA register and familiarise yourself with the Code of Conduct.

Examples of typical residential accommodation dwelling types that could be used for STRA include a house (free-standing, attached or semi-detached), a dual occupancy, multi-dwelling housing such as a townhouse, a flat or apartment, a secondary dwelling such as a granny flat or housing above shops.

The policy does not permit STRA in boarding houses, seniors housing, hostels, group homes, refuge or crisis accommodation or within tourist and visitor accommodation such as backpackers, hotels and serviced apartments.

If you cannot comply with the exempt development criteria you will be required to seek development consent for a STRA property through a development application lodged via the NSW Planning Portal.

Fire Safety Standards

Any dwelling proposed to be used for STRA is required to comply with the new fire safety
standards. These are additional measures to the existing fire safety measures in the building. The new fire safety standards:

  • Introduce minimum fire safety standards for STRA dwellings and associated penalty notices for non-compliance;
  • Require all STRA dwellings to comply with the relevant fire safety standards, including the requirement for all STRA dwellings to have an evacuation plan and interconnected smoke alarms; and
  • Require all STRA dwellings to be registered on the STRA register to confirm compliance with the new fire safety standards.

Due to COVID-19, a temporary measure has been put in place that allows hosts to delay meeting the fire and safety requirement until 1 March 2022 rather than 1 November 2021 when the state-wide regulatory framework came into effect.

STRA Register

A new State government run STRA register has been developed to assist in ensuring compliance with the new rules including fire safety standards. The register will also capture the number of days a property is used for STRA to enable monitoring of compliance with day limits and the Code of Conduct.

Registration for hosts to register a STRA property is available through the NSW Planning Portal. Hosts, guests and letting agents can access help with queries, including how to register, by contacting Service NSW on 1300 305 695.

Code of Conduct

The mandatory Code of Conduct for the STRA Industry came into effect on 18 December 2020. The Code creates new minimum standards for behaviour and requirements for all participants, including:

  • Booking platforms
  • Hosts
  • Guests
  • Letting agents
  • Facilitators

The Code of Conduct was updated on 28 May 2021 to reflect the anticipated commencement of the new planning framework and register in November. The Code creates new disciplinary actions that NSW Fair Trading can take, including listing non-compliant participants on an exclusion register.

Further information, queries and complaints

For further information on the new STRA regulatory framework. Visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s website.

Hosts, guests and letting agents can access help with queries, including how to register their STRA property, by contacting Service NSW on 1300 305 695.

Concerns or complaints relating to compliance with the Code of Conduct should be referred to Service NSW on 1300 305 695 or NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

Randwick City Council can be contacted with issues or complaints relating to fire safety and planning approvals. Call 9093 6000 or email council@randwick.nsw.gov.au.

NSW Fair Trading has the discretion to issue strikes against hosts and guests for deliberate and persistent breaches of the law, including planning laws or findings in court or tribunal. If Council believes a matter warrants consideration for a strike it can refer the matter to NSW Fair Trading. If NSW Fair Trading receives complaints that are best managed by the local council in the first instance, it will either refer the matter to Council or instruct the complainant to lodge their matter directly with Council.

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