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ASTRA Addresses NSW Parliment on Short Term Rental Regulations

June 24, 2024

The Australian and New Zealand Short-term Rental Association (ASTRA) recently addressed the New South Wales Parliament, urging a balanced and thoughtful approach to upcoming regulatory changes.

This comes in response to signals from government officials about potential new measures in the NSW budget, including a tax on owners and annual night caps on short-term accommodations.

Addressing Misconceptions

ASTRA CEO Mitch Price highlighted that short-term rental accommodations (STRA) constitute only about 1 percent of Australia’s total housing stock. This challenges the notion that STRA significantly impacts housing affordability and supply.

Price emphasised that the sector’s influence on the broader housing market is minimal, and regulatory measures should reflect this reality.

More Than Just Holiday Stays

Beyond providing memorable holiday experiences for families, the STRA sector plays a vital role in various community needs. Short-term rentals offer essential accommodations for people seeking medical treatment, families escaping domestic violence, and transient workers, such as those in construction, who are crucial for building new housing across the nation.

This diversity underscores the sector’s importance beyond tourism, making it a critical part of community infrastructure.

Proposed 2% Levy

ASTRA is advocating for a 2 percent levy on all accommodation types, including hotels, motels, leisure parks, and STRA.

The revenue generated from this levy would address persistent social issues, including affordable housing, regional tourism development, and upskilling in regional NSW. This proposal aims to ensure all accommodation providers contribute equitably to solving pressing social problems.

Potential Impact of Night Caps

ASTRA’s members, primarily small property owners, have voiced concerns that imposing nightly caps on short-term rentals would severely impact their income, especially as many rely on this income as they approach retirement. Furthermore, such measures could have a detrimental effect on NSW’s popular tourism destinations and their local economies, which thrive on the flexibility and availability of short-term accommodations.

Ensuring Safety and Compliance

To ensure the sector operates safely and equitably, ASTRA is pushing for enhancements to the government registration portal for STRA properties. They also propose the certification of owners and property management companies to ensure compliance with industry standards, in line with the Property and Stock Agents Act 2002.

These measures aim to maintain high safety standards while promoting fairness across the industry.

A Call for Proportionate Regulation

ASTRA’s message is clear: a proportionate, evidence-based approach to regulating the STRA sector is essential.

The association warns against the pitfalls of over-regulation, citing New York City as an example where high taxes and misguided night caps have led to a black market for unsafe and uninsured accommodations. Such outcomes not only endanger guests but also result in lost tax revenue for critical public services and higher hotel prices.

A Balanced Path Forward

ASTRA’s advocacy highlights the need for a balanced approach that recognises the multifaceted contributions of the STRA sector. By proposing fair regulations and equitable levies, ASTRA aims to protect the livelihoods of small property owners while addressing broader social issues.

As the NSW government considers new measures, the call for evidence-based, proportionate regulation becomes crucial to ensure the sustainability and safety of the short-term rental industry.