New York bans commercial short-term letting, will Australia follow suit?

New York’s ban on commercial short term lettings – and the advertising of non-conforming short terms stays – should provide a model for Australian jurisdictions according to Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA).

On Friday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo introduced laws that outlawed both the letting and advertising of full apartments or houses for fewer than 30 days unless the owner/resident was present. The law provided for fines of up to US$7,500 for individual hosts who violated the state regulations.

The New York law follows similar crackdowns in cities such as San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, while Dublin and London are also considering tightening regulations.

The global move to curb commercial unregulated short-term accommodation comes just a few days after a NSW Legislative Assembly Inquiry recommended a reduction in regulation, a move that has been strongly opposed by resident/strata bodies and regulated accommodation operators.

“It is ironic that at a time when city administrators across America and Europe are imposing major restrictions on unregulated commercial short-term accommodation operators that a NSW parliamentary committee should be advocating a softening of regulations,” said TAA CEO, Carol Giuseppi.

“The overwhelming majority of listings for unregulated short term accommodation in Sydney are for full houses and flats involving no sharing, and increasingly the sector is being controlled by commercial operators with multiple properties available 365 days a year.

“This is the same situation that has occurred in American and European cities and they have taken action to control the situation.

“We call on Australian governments at all levels to take note and take action to protect residents, communities and regulated accommodation operators.

“As in New York we want a very specific ceiling on the number of days an apartment or house can be let out on the short-term market and we want online distribution channels to be held responsible for ensuring these limits are not exceeded and that they advertise only properties that are compliant – meeting safety, insurance, body corporate, strata, council and state regulations.

“We are not against genuine ‘sharing’, but we believe there needs to be sensible and proportional regulations imposed on non-resident commercial property owners – especially multiple-property investors – who rent out full properties for short term stays.”

In a separate statement, TAA said it welcomed the committee’s recommendation designed to protect against the establishment of “party houses”, but said the prospect of inner-city apartment blocks being turned into ‘quasi hotels’ was a greater issue that required more transparent regulation.

Research shows that 37% of Airbnb listings in Sydney are available 365 days a year and being operated as fully commercial property businesses, while InsideAirbnb estimated that 61% of Sydney listings were for full houses or apartments, involving no ‘sharing’.



“With a large supply of apartments coming into the market any relaxation of regulations on commercial short-stay accommodation could have serious implications for resident owners and long-term renters in apartment blocks which are effectively turned into ‘quasi hotels’. It will lead to overcrowding, potential safety and insurance issues, parking problems and, most importantly, higher rents and lower availability for long-term renters.”

“It will also be important for Government to ensure that the online operators who’ve been offering unregulated short-term accommodation are held responsible for only listing compliant properties and ensuring they do not exceed the agreed letting limits.”

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Melissa Eftimovski
Melissa Eftimovski
7 years ago

As a proactive campaigner to stop “Unapproved Operators” for the past decade, this is long overdue.
Hotels, Service Apartments and Motels go through a lengthy DA approval process, fire regulations and EWIS systems that are far more superior and costly, properties are managed 24/7 around the clock, have specific waste and pest management controls and comply with all governing bodies.

All residential developments should be that residential and comply accordingly with their DA which is no short term letting, this means anything less than 13 weeks continuous. The government should also be holding Councils responsible for allowing this non approved market to operate. Safety and compliance is paramount in our Industry and anyone that is not meeting these requirements is a danger to Tourism and visitors in any city as if something goes wrong there is no governing body holding these house owners accountable, they will just remove their house listing from the OTA

I see two reasons why this should be stopped:

1. We would see more development of Hotels and greater upkeep and renovations of older hotels
2. We would create more residential apartments into the market at cheaper selling prices and more rentals in the market at a more favorable per week rental price. The rental shortage is at 1% in areas creating extreme rental rates and these unapproved operations are why this is happening

The Hotel industry can not keep prostituting its rates to compete with unapproved operators because they do not have the overheads that Hotels do. There is a desperate need for young Australians to enter the property market and a desperate need for cheaper rentals to be available so that people can curb there debit. So many people living well outside their means and if this Industry was stopped we would see renters and buyers have a much better chance of success.

7 years ago

I am an owner of a small country motel and obviously the more short term accommodation from sites like AirBnb etc are taking business away in some cases but otherwise not really. I don’t agree with over regulation particularly when you ‘own’ a property you should be free to let people stay there when ever and how you like.

I don’t blame the general public from sourcing alternatives to the traditional ‘motel’. For example, I wanted to have 5 days in Sydney and the prices for any motel was almost $350+ per night. Some larger chain motels were aiming for $500+ per night. Yes if you trall around sites, book a date on their terms you can get ‘deals’ for around the $260ish but the overall cost to stay is totally unacceptable in my view.

At the end of the day, if a building is safe for the ‘owners’ or ‘traditional renters’ to spend the night what difference does it make with anyone else spending the night?
When apartments are built in Australia they need to have fire exits and smoke alarms and the usual other safety things, so why does it all of a sudden magically change and become ‘unsafe’ if someone books online?

I don’t see the difference between someone staying for 2 months or 2 nights. The property can still be a ‘party house’, they still can have bad/troublesome tenants. I have friends in Real Estate and they tell me plenty of stories of traditional properties that are ‘rented’ properly and they have trouble with tenants and can’t get rid of them. – Where as a short term rental properly they can vet the tenants through reviews and other means.

Local councils have plenty of other things to worry about and most can’t even operate properly as it is, so if you think they are all of a sudden going to enforce bans short term letting, hahaha think again.

At the end of the day, our Government resources are being wasted on the wrong thing.

How about the ACCC get a spine and stop OTA’s enforcing price parity for starters?

How about they reduce the already high council rates for motels?

Reply to  Phil
7 years ago

The ACCC has stopped enforcing price parity for OTA’s. You should have got the email from Expedia and

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