Taming unruly holiday houses

Strict new laws will govern holiday rental houses in time for Christmas, including the establishment of an exclusion register which will introduce a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy for unruly guests.

Short term rental accommodation hosts, guests, letting agents and online booking platform operators will have to comply with a mandatory Code of Conduct for the industry, beginning on 18 December.

The Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, says the new Code includes clear guidance and obligations for hosts and guests, centred on minimum standards of good behaviour.

“Also included are formal avenues for complaints and dispute resolution and the ability for NSW Fair Trading to ban problematic hosts or anti-social guests from booking short-term rentals for five years.

“The popularity of short-term rentals has exploded in recent years and is now a $30 billion a year industry.

“While the sector has gone from strength to strength, what has been missing is a clear set of rules to protect the rights of both hosts, guests and neighbours, and which put mutual respect front and centre.

“The NSW Government is introducing these laws as part of our broad reform of the sector. Together, they will ensure the minority of participants who are giving the sector a bad name are removed and the short-term rental sector is improved for hosts, guests and communities.”

The standards are enforceable, with powers available to NSW Fair Trading Commissioner to take disciplinary action, including penalties and exclusion from the industry for repeat offenders.

All participants, including booking platforms, will be required to comply with the Code and with directions and requests from the Commissioner.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is also developing a government-run premises register and state environmental planning policy for short-term rental accommodation which will round out the reforms to this sector and launch in 2021.

The Bugle will report more on local reaction to the new Code in our next issue.

If you have an insight to share, please contact perrie@thebuglenewspaper.com.au

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