Short Term Rental Amendment

(Bills - Consideration in detail, 20 June 2018, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

I move amendment No. 1 standing in my name on sheet C2018-079:

No. 1 Registration of premises used for short-term rental accommodation

Page 3, Schedule 1, proposed section 54B. Insert after line 43:

(c) provide for the registration of residential premises used for the purposes of short-term rental accommodation arrangements and for the registration system to include details about when residential premises are used for those purposes, and

The amendment is a straightforward one. It ensures that the short-term rental code of conduct in the Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018 can include a mandatory registration system where all hosts add their premises to a register and provide data on the nights that they are there on a short-term basis

This will ensure compliance with the Government's regime.

Unlawful short-term letting has proven difficult to police, with enforcement agencies required to prove activities with extensive evidence that is challenging to collect. Sydney will soon have a 180-day a year limit for short-term renting for a premise to remain compliant with residential zoning. The Government says this limit will ensure homes are not wholly converted to visitor accommodation. But the limit will be easy to disobey and many operators will do so because it is profitable. It is not feasible for neighbours to watch and count the days that there are short‑term visitors in order to develop an annual tally. Compliance must be built into any system, and that is only possible through a registration system.

Without oversight of which properties are being let and when, commercial operators will easily contravene laws. A register would enable authorities to monitor compliance. It has strong support among strata communities where there is a history of short-term letting contravening building rules and where it can be difficult to determine which apartments are hosting short-term guests. A registration system would also help the Government collect data to establish any long-term impacts on housing affordability. The system could be funded by charging hosts a registration fee and could be managed through Service NSW, for example.

Registration systems already operate in San Francisco, New Orleans, Paris, Japan and Iceland, and community campaigns for a register are growing across the globe in places of high tourist demand. The Tenants Union and the Owners Corporation Network both say a registration system is vital for any regime to work. My amendment does not mandate a registration system or determine what a registration system should look like. The Government will retain flexibility, as it does with the wider code. However, it will ensure that a registration system can be introduced without having to go back to Parliament should the Government determine it is necessary. It is important that we can implement oversight and transparency into short-term letting. I commend the amendment.