While Sydney is the 10th largest market for Airbnb, renting out short-term rental accommodations to tourists and visitors is not allowed in most residential areas. The money is so good, however, that many residents of Sydney and surrounding areas take the chance to ignore local laws. In New South Wales (NSW), local councils have different rules about leasing short-term rentals, so grounds for what constitutes Airbnb illegal subletting vary widely. When residents in some nearby areas were slapped with $1.1 million fine for subletting, the pressure was on to encourage the government of New South Wales to commission a study of the practice to clarify the rules and make recommendations for the future.
The report did not outright ban short-term rentals and even said that with proper regulation short term rentals might be appropriate in residential areas. A complaint driven compliance strategy, such as that used in Sydney, could successfully manage problems.
Proposed New Laws Curb Airbnb Illegal Subletting
By July 2017, the state government of NSW proposed a crackdown on Airbnb subletting because of disruption to neighborhoods, traffic problems, safety concerns, and added pressure on shared strata facilities. Now, individuals who want to rent their property for short term must acquire a license and pay a levy that covers extra security and maintenance of shared amenities. The government also reserves the right to set a time limit on the number of days a property could be sublet, while acknowledging the right of homeowners to rent out their primary residence.
Property owners on strata property in Sydney maintain the new provisions do not go far enough. They argue that current laws ineffectively regulate the problem as tourists can quickly overrun a residential building without the community of owners having much say. Regulations lack clarity and do not standardize what is acceptable. Housing advocates maintain that Airbnb rentals take over 6,000 properties out of the long-term housing market. The government is evaluating complaints and comments from property owners and other critics and will make a decision on the new laws by year’s end.