Future changes to short stay accommodation regulations

29 September 2023

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This article explores some of the new rules and regulations in the global short-stay rental sector, and highlights potential changes coming to WA. It is vital that you know what your obligations are as a host or short-stay landlord and how new laws might impact you.

In September 2023, the New York City Council introduced controversial new laws that will drastically change the city’s short-term rental sector, including the following:

  • Owners can no longer rent out the entire property for a stay of less than 30 days. Instead, a bedroom or bedrooms can be rented out whilst the owner continues to occupy the rest of the property, effectively turning hosts into flatmates.
  • No more than two guests can book a short-term rental at any one time. This means larger groups of friends or families are no longer able to stay together.

Over the past two years, other major international cities have brought in changes such as limiting the number of nights per year that a property can be booked out on platforms like Airbnb, introducing “tourist taxes” and restricting furnished holiday rentals to specific zones within a city.

In Paris, landlords of holiday rentals are required to purchase a commercial property and convert the space into residential property. For example, if the landlord of a 50m2 Parisian apartment decides to list the apartment on Airbnb year-round rather than rent to a long-term tenant, they will be required to purchase a commercial property of anywhere between 50-150 m2 (depending on the district) and transform it into residences to “compensate” the city for lost long-term rental accommodation. The requirement for “compensation” does not apply if someone is temporarily renting out their primary residence.

Closer to home, the Victorian government announced in September 2023 that short-stay accommodation platforms will be required to pass on a 7.5% levy to holidaymakers, starting in 2025. The Premier stated that the money will go towards a fund for the construction of social and affordable housing.

These different laws are designed to address the rental crisis which has been, in part, driven by landlords taking investment properties off the established rental market and turning them into short-stay rental properties. For owners, short-term rentals offer higher nightly rental rates and greater flexibility. For example, an owner can list their holiday home on a site like Airbnb but have the ability to stay there when they choose.

Currently in WA, holiday rentals are subject only to local council laws. In the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, one of the state’s most popular regions for tourism, annual planning permission is required in order to provide short-stay accommodation.

Just days ago, Western Australia’s Premier, Roger Cook, flagged changes to the laws surrounding short-stay accommodations commencing from early 2024, including a cap on the number of nights that a property could be booked on a platform like Airbnb. At this stage, it is not known whether further restrictions will be introduced, but it is highly unlikely that the government will go as far as Paris and New York.

How will these changes impact you as a short-stay host?

You should consider the potential impact of changes that may be introduced, so that you can make property decisions that are right for you and your family. It is important to stay on top of proposed laws so that you have ample time to consider your options regarding investment properties. If you require assistance with rental leases or navigating local council laws, contact us to speak to our experienced property lawyers.