Councils welcome Government review of short-term rental accommodation

FACING the lowest housing affordability and availability levels in decades, the State Government has announced a comprehensive review of short-term rental accommodation (STRA) in NSW, with Councils welcoming the decision.

The review will consider the adequacy of the STRA planning and regulatory framework, and options for improvement.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Cr Darriea Turley said councils had been seeking changes to the regulations governing the industry for a number of years.

“LGNSW welcomes the review and looks forward to direct engagement on behalf of our members on this critically important issue,” Cr Turley said.

“Councils want to have the ability to respond flexibly in this area to balance housing needs as well as the local visitor economy.”

The review will also consider policy options to incentivise the use of vacant property and holiday homes for long-term residency.

Cr Turley said an outcome of the review needed to be returning more of the existing housing stock to the long-term rental market.

“We think this will be the fastest way to provide immediate relief to housing pressures,” she said.

While the Government admits the review and potential reform of STRA alone is “not a silver bullet”, the review is seen as an important step towards fixing existing structural issues in the housing market.

“All options are on the table and we are keen to hear from the community on how various aspects of regulatory and revenue measures can be designed to get the best outcome,” Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness Rose Jackson said.

“This review will inform our approach to make better use of all forms of housing, including short term rentals, vacant property and holiday homes.

“This includes looking at ways to move some of this housing to the long-term rental market and to minimise its negative impacts on the housing market as well as what we can do to support homelessness services across NSW.”

Locally, Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said her electorate is in the grip of a “significant housing and homelessness crisis”.

“This is our community’s opportunity to have a say over the future of rules relating to short term rentals in Port Stephens.

“I encourage everyone to have your say.”

In September last year, a report by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) found that short stay accommodation was booming at a time when Australia’s rental crisis was worsening.

REIA President Hayden Groves said that in the March quarter, a total of 133,968 short-stay accommodation places were available in Australia, an increase of 3.7 percent over the quarter and 22.8 percent over the previous year.

In Port Stephens, short-term rental numbers grew 6.1 percent in one year to 1,423.

“As a crude equation, 133,968 on first glance appears to fill the forecast shortage of dwellings Australia will face by next financial year of 106,000,” Mr Groves said last September.

“While short-stay accommodation has been an essential part of meeting high demand for domestic tourism accommodation, it is a driving factor behind the rental crisis,” he said.

“The eastern coast of Australia is the predominant provider of short-term accommodation, and where most of the crucial long-term housing is desperately needed.”

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