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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

A closer peek at Byron Shire Council’s holiday letting policy

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We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Hans Lovejoy

Residents have until January 30 to have their say on Council’s holiday letting policy.

This is a big, complicated policy that aims to regulate Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA). 

The Council staff report, underpinning the policy, claims the industry has grown dramatically in recent years.

In September 2019, they wrote, ‘Approximately 18 per cent of all dwellings were listed on Airbnb, with numbers in Byron Bay exceeding 40 per cent’.

Citing data from the InsideAirbnb website, ‘Byron Shire accounts for more Airbnb listings than all other Northern Rivers Local government areas combined’.

In short, a development application (DA) will be required to holiday let your home, which means meeting as-yet-to-be determined requirements.

The draft policy proposes new planning controls to be inserted into the Byron LEP 2014 to define and regulate short term rental accommodation.

Additional to the policy, mapping will identify the maximum number of days (zero, 90 and 365 days per year) for short term rental accommodation in the Shire.

But there are scant details about how it will be implemented – for example there are yet-to-be-stated ‘aims, objectives and matters to be considered when assessing a development application for short-term rental accommodation’.

Echonetdaily asked staff what fees/rates are proposed for the STRA uses and, ‘Has there been any reporting on what fees will be applied?’

Staff replied, ‘Costs and or fees will depend on the regulation and management regime adopted by Council, and approved via the planning proposal process being progressed by staff for the consideration of the state government. Council is currently exploring options for a council registration scheme for STRA, any proposal will be reported to Council and fees associated with it would be exhibited as part of the annual fees and charges’.

Occupancy limits

As for occupancy limits per household, ‘It is intended to limit short term rental accommodation to a maximum of two persons per bedroom, up to a maximum of 12 persons, whichever is the lesser. For example, a three bedroom house would be limited to a maximum of six persons, while a ten bedroom house would be limited to a maximum of 12 persons. The figure is inclusive of guests, hosts and any other permanent residents’.

Under the proposal, hosted accommodation will be allowed 365 days per year [in designated areas] and non-hosted accommodation limited to 90 days per year.

As with any big new policy, it will likely be a drain on Council resources.

The staff report says that developing a register ‘may require additional funding’, and that ‘Council’s development assessment services may be placed under increasing pressure as landowners seek to regularise their activities’.

Staff also note that none of the new rules, which are proposed by the NSW government, have come into force yet.

To read more, visit Your Say Byron Shire.

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  1. Is the 18% comparison quote, a national figure? ie. to what does it refer?
    ‘Approximately 18 per cent of all dwellings were listed on Airbnb, with numbers in Byron Bay exceeding 40 per cent’.

    • In Byron Shire 18% of dwellings, 15,600 at the 2016 Census, are listed on Airbnb In Byron Bay 40% of all dwellings are listed on Airbnb. These figures are probably low as the number has dramatically increase 2 months ago to 3513 Airbnb in the shire..


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