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Industry reacts to new Code of Conduct for short-term rentals in NSW

Launched December 18, new mandatory rules apply to all “short-term rental accommodation industry participants” across the state.

This is what many are calling Airbnb legislation as industry bodies and anti-Airbnb neighbourhood groups have long campaigned for action.

Trevor Rawnsley from Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association (ARAMA) says while the association is not anti-Airbnb it does acknowledge and commend the NSW government for taking an active stance to rid the visitor accommodation industry of the cowboys. The Code does not apply to a stereotypical management rights business that provides short-term accommodation and Trevor says management rights operators in NSW can thank ARAMA for ensuring that this exclusion was included in the legislation.

The 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.

ARAMA states:

The government has acknowledged 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.

“The 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”

In an article written by Col Myers of Small Myers Hughes Lawyers in Resort News, December 2020 he sates: “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.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW, leading tourism accommodation body also agreed the new mandatory Code of Conduct for the short-term rental industry will help level the playing field for established accommodation hotels.

Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW CEO Michael Johnson said The Association led the way in advocating for these reforms.

“TAA thanks the NSW government for listening to our concerns and implementing these much-needed changes.” 

“With the new code of conduct and registration and planning laws in place we can hope to see a regulated short-term rental accommodation environment that complements the accommodation sector rather disrupting it.”

Mr Johnson said the Code of Conduct comes at a crucial time for the industry.

It includes obligations for hosts, guests, online booking platforms and letting agents, as well as a complaints process for anyone to complain about breaches.

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