In response, REINSW prepared a Submission with members of its Property Management and Strata Management Chapter Committees, and members involved in STHL specialisation. Read it here.
REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said: “Any reforms by the NSW Government must ensure the needs, interests and concerns of all stakeholders are represented and take account of differing property types.
“REINSW’s submission has maintained a focus on the need to ensure fair and equitable outcomes across the sector to create a better short-term holiday letting system in New South Wales.”
Read REINSW’s submission in full here
, or for a brief outline of some of the changes REINSW has suggested to the regulatory framework, please see below.
Owners should be allowed to do what they want, providing they don’t break the law and adversely impact their neighbours’ rights.
However, the rights of the owners of STHL properties should not exceed owner-occupiers and longer-term tenants.
Protecting STHL tenants
There must be a refund system that can be enforced quickly and efficiently.
Protection of amenity
Owner-occupiers and longer-term tenants must be protected from the negative impacts of STHL, and there must be consequences where amenity is adversely impacted.
Property owners who choose STHL should have legislated parameters that are enforceable to quickly and effectively deal with situations that go awry.
Co-operation with online booking platforms
Online booking platforms should be legislatively bound to comply with certain obligations.
Payment of bonds
A bond should be paid by the STHL tenant at the time of booking to provide owners with some security should the tenant damage the property.
Mandatory statutory review
Any legislative reform regarding the STHL sector should be subject to a three-year mandatory statutory review.
Mandatory landlords’ insurance
Landlords’ insurance should be mandatory for every STHL property.
Responsibilities and obligations need to be enshrined in legislation to ensure that agent and non-agent operators are regulated, monitored and subject to enforcement action.
Industry self-regulation will not achieve this, and so a government regulator must be involved. Alternatively, co-regulation could be a better option to achieve the best outcome.
There must be a complaints process enshrined in the legislation which go to the managing agent or the online booking provider, who would be bound to respond.
Non-agent operators should be required to undertake a mandatory short course before they can advertise their property to help ensure compliance.
Monitoring and reporting
Ongoing monitoring and reporting must take place to help the NSW Government make informed decisions and assess the framework.
Strata regulation in STHL
By-laws to manage visitor behavior
Lot owners engaged in STHL should have an obligation to provide their tenants with an up-to-date copy of the strata scheme’s by-laws.
Protecting the amenity and consequences
There must be a keen focus on preserving the amenity of other owner occupiers and longer-term tenants, and consequences it is adversely impacted.
The potential risks to amenity include, but are not limited to:
• Bad behaviour
• Rubbish disposal
• By-law breaches
Bonds should be paid by the STHL tenant at the time of booking. Another potential option is to impose an additional levy upon lot owners.
By-laws for compensation
The legislation should provide the strata scheme can recover compensation for any adverse effects from the lot owner.
Special resolution restricting STHL
The Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 sets out a strata renewal regime to facilitate the collective sale or substantial redevelopment of an entire strata scheme where 75% of lot owners support the proposal.
A similar approach could be taken to regulate or restrict STHL in strata schemes.
Enforcement of by-laws
A registration or reporting regime should be put in place where online booking providers are legislatively bound by the scheme and take an active part in policing compliance.
Planning should be regulated at a state level to address the lack of of consistency in STHL.
Limit the length of stay
Where a property is let for less than 90 days, a residential tenancy agreement (in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010) is not required. A further limitation is not required.
There is value in a registration regime (administered by the NSW Government) where the property is assigned a registration number. If a property is not listed on portal, the property would not be able to be advertised.