Chances are, if you haven't heard of Airbnb by now, you're
well overdue for a holiday. Hundreds of Aussies and countless more
travellers are taking advantage of the popular online marketplace
to organise short-term rental homestays.
Accommodation costs, rules and requirements can be set by the
property owner who can communicate with prospective renters online,
as they search for their perfect accommodation style.
It sounds straightforward on paper but like most things,
it's not as complication free as it would appear, largely
because no-one is quite sure where Airbnb sits at the moment in
regards to property legislation.
While classed as a short-term rental, in reality many homeowners
have their property listed permanently which is wreaking havoc with
strata laws, goodwill between neighbours and much more.
There is a distinct lack of uniformity amongst NSW Councils. For
example, the City of Sydney Council has affirmed that short-term
rental accommodation is tourist accommodation, and as such, is
banned in the majority of residential areas across the city.
As it stands currently, homeowners looking to make a bit of
extra money, risk hefty fines from their local council if they are
found to be renting out accommodation to visitors on platforms like
With so much tension between Airbnb users and local councils,
there has been a call to address the lack of uniformity in
regulation regarding this type of accommodation. There is
particular emphasis on a desire to prevent "party
houses," the houses or short-term accommodation that result in
noise complaints disrupting usually quiet communities. However, the
push for the right regulations could allow for the successful
control of Airbnb accommodation across NSW.
In light of this recent discussion, the Legislative Assembly
Committee on Environment and Planning has spent 18 months reviewing
the home sharing and short-term stay industry, and has produced a
report entitled 'Adequacy of the regulation of short-term
holiday letting in New South Wales'.
This report concluded that short-term stay rental accommodation
should be better defined in New South Wales, but also permitted.
The Report concluded that banning short-term rental accommodation
was not the best solution to address the problems associated with
this style of accommodation, rather it suggested better regulation
and more legislation around home-sharing.
The legal implications of a ban on short-term accommodation
could include fines in the first instance. Some tenants may also
run the risk of eviction by their landlord if they sub-lease their
apartment without the consent of the landlord.
Airbnb and other home-sharing services can also run into hot
water with the Australian Taxation Office, as this kind of
"commercial arrangement" can be used to evade tax
including Capital Gains Tax and GST. Income earned from
accommodation for short-term holiday rentals must be declared.
If an owner wants to remove a caveat, issuing a lapsing notice is a quick and easy way to shift the problem to the caveator.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).