Short Term Rentals in NSW - Code of Conduct About to Commence

24 November 20


As from 18 December 2020, a new Code of Conduct for short-term rental accommodation comes into effect in NSW. This Code of Conduct is mandatory and applies to all “short-term rental accommodation industry participants”.

You may recall in my September 2020 article, I talked about the NSW Government’s 4 prong approach to what I call its “AirBnB” legislation:
(a) Town planning changes limiting properties short-term use (when non-hosted by the owner) to 180 days in Greater Sydney and up to 365 days in regional areas (unless the local Council limits the term to no fewer than 180 days); and
(b) Allowing an Owners Corporation to pass a special resolution at a general meeting (75% in favour) to implement a by law that prohibits short-term letting of units in a strata complex if a unit is not the principal place of residence of the host; and
(c) The introduction of a Code of Conduct that all hosts and guests must strictly follow; and
(d) The establishment of a mandatory short-term rental accommodation premises register.

The Government acknowledges that, with some short-term rental occupants, there can be an impact of the amenities on the neighbours, which could result in inconsiderate or anti-social behaviour. The Code of Conduct responds to this need by establishing behavioural obligations for short-term rental accommodation participants.
This new Code will allow the Commissioner of Fair Trading to take disciplinary action against those people who breach the Code, including creating an exclusion register listing people who commit serious breaches. Those listed on the exclusion register will be banned from taking part in the short-term rental accommodation industry for 5 years.

The town planning controls and a premises register are currently under development.

Part of the objective of the Code is to provide resolution of complaints, set out rights and obligations of short-term accommodation industry participants and outline the compliance approach which applies to contraventions.

At the time the participant enters into a short-term rental accommodation arrangement, the industry participant must inform them of this Code and its obligations to comply with the Code. A copy of this Code must be easily available on its website.

If made aware of any complaint or dispute, the booking platform must notify the guest or host of the complaint. Reasonable steps must be made to make them aware of how to lodge a complaint with the Commissioner.

From 1 June 2021 a premises register on short-term renal accommodation comes into force and means property is not to be advertised unless the premises (and host) are registered and the registration number is shown with the details of the premises.

The Good News for Management Rights Operators

The Code does not apply to a stereotypical Management Rights business that provides short-term accommodation. The reason for this is that hotel or motel accommodation and serviced apartments are considered “tourist and visitor accommodation” which is specifically excluded from the operation of the legislation.

Management rights operators in NSW can thank their peek industry body ARAMA for ensuring that this exclusion was included in the legislation.

The net effect of this legislation is to make AirBnB style operators liable for the conduct of their guests and also ensures that these operators must now meet certain minimum requirements in the delivery of their product – similar to what management rights operators have had to deal with for many years.

Article Written by Col Myers of Small Myers Hughes Lawyers
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
Disclaimer – This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice.  

Additional Documents

Click here to download: 2020_12_Dec___Short_Term_Rentals___Code_of_Conduct.pdf


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