A new policy for short term rental accommodation will be brought into effect by the NSW Government later this year.
But one Northern Rivers council area will be excluded from the new rules, for now, while it will apply in a neighbouring shire from November.
Byron Shire Council has long been trying to implement its own localised rules to manage the runaway effect of short term holiday letting.
The state planning department has confirmed on its website the Byron Shire would not be included in the new STRA policy when it takes effect from November this year.
“Byron Shire LGA has been excluded from the new policy until 31 January 2022,” the department stated on its website.
“After this date, the STRA provisions will apply to the Byron Shire LGA, including a maximum of 180 days per year for non-hosted STRA.
“The NSW Government recognises that STRA is complex issue in the Byron Shire LGA.
“On February 11 2019, the former Minister for Planning announced a new Ministerial Direction that invites Byron Shire Council to prepare a planning proposal that could introduce a 90 day threshold in the most impacted parts of the LGA.
“On March 10 2020, Byron Shire Council lodged a planning proposal seeking to limit non-hosted STRA to 90 days in its LGA.
“Until the planning proposal is determined or until 31 January 2022, Byron Shire LGA is exempt from the STRA policy.”
What the policy will look like
So far, the new policy is expected to allow for hosted letting 365 days a year within dwellings with a 180-day cap on non-hosted letting (where the owner is not present) in Greater Sydney and “nominated regional NSW LGAs”.
Those nominated local government areas include Byron, Ballina and parts of the Clarence Valley along with all of the Bega Valley, Dubbo and City of Newcastle LGAs and part of the Muswellbrook LGA.
Bookings of 21 or more consecutive days will be exempt from day limits of non-hosted sites.
A new code of conduct associated with the industry was introduced in 2020.
Industry calls for changes as policy delayed
Holiday rental platform Stayz has urged the State Government to implement major changes before the new statewide policy comes into effect.
The company was among those pushing for the policy’s implementation to be delayed, before the state pushed back the July 30 date to November 1.
Stayz corporate affairs director Eacham Curry said the industry should be better consulted on the plans.
“The additional time is an opportunity for the NSW Government to get the implementation of new rules for our sector back on track,” Mr Curry said.
“We also call on the NSW Government to reconsider the expansion of regions covered by its unproven 180-day cap on the availability of short-term rental accommodation, while noting also the complexity it introduces by applying only to unhosted properties.
“Traditional accommodation offerings are often limited in regional areas and the tourism industry is only starting to bounce back after a tough 18 months dominated by COVID-19 and bushfires. The expansion of night caps to further regions is a blow to the tourist economy and the NSW Government should rethink their approach in the face of an uncertain outlook for tourism.”
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