NSW still firming up Airbnb regulations

Andrew Leeson
Airbnb regulation makes sense: NSW govt

The NSW government has called for input as it considers a new regulatory approach to homesharing and short-term accommodation sites such as Airbnb.

The NSW government on Thursday announced it would impose new rules on property owners who let out spare rooms or entire homes but said it had yet to finalise the details of the regulatory changes.

"We're putting all options on the table ... so we can consider the diversity of opinion out there on this issue," Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said in Sydney.

Six months on from a parliamentary inquiry into short-term accommodation, the government said it was considering restricting rentals, including by capping how many days a property can be let per year without a development application.

Cities like London have restricted letting of residential property to 90 days a year without council permission.

At present, only 12 NSW councils have rules that allow home owners to let their properties for short stays. The thresholds for short-term letting vary from council to council.

Housing Minister Anthony Roberts said badly behaved neighbours and so-called party houses caused by short-term stays can be dealt with under existing laws for the time being.

"You have the power and the rights to call police in respect to poor behaviour," he said on Thursday.

But Owners Corporation Network spokesman Stephen Goddard said police weren't always able to respond and residents should be given more say in how apartments are let in their building.

"If owners corporations are going to be asked to regulate short-term letting, they first have to have the democratic right to decide whether it's going to occur in the building," Mr Goddard said.

"We are seeing buildings converted from residential spaces to hotels with all of the adverse consequences."

Airbnb, Stayz and the Sydney Business Chamber all welcomed the opportunity for further consultation.

"The NSW government is absolutely right in making moves to crack down on bad behaviour," Airbnb Australia manager Sam McDonagh said in a statement.

"We will happily stand beside them to support regulations which ensure people's rights to respectfully and responsibly share their homes are protected."

But Neighbours Not Strangers, a group opposed to Airbnb and their ilk, argued the parliamentary inquiry didn't examine the real issues that could help home owners and long-term tenants.

"I have lived with short letting, it is a hellish situation to be in," group convener Trish Burt told AAP.

She said no short-term accommodation should be allowed in residential buildings and existing NSW laws were "appropriate" but needed to be enforced.

There are more than 40,000 Airbnb listings in NSW, with 17,000 in Greater Sydney alone.

The average Airbnb host in NSW earns $4400 a year from sharing their home.