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Byron Shire
March 25, 2023

No more disinformation on short-term holiday letting

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The arguments for restricting short-term holiday rentals are well established but bear repeating in order to negate disinformation spread by the letting industry:

• Destruction of local community neighbourhood values of togetherness, sharing, mutual support.

• Disruption for local residents, through noise, parties, parking congestion, bins abused and left out.

• Significant loss of amenity for local residents – peace, community, quality of life

• Reduction in medium and long-term rental availability for local people.

• Byron housing stock reassigned to STHR has increased more than 260 per cent in just three years. In Launceston Tasmania, 67 per cent of STHR were previously long-term rentals, source: Peter Phibbs, Emeritus Professor, UNSW.

• The rental vacancy rate in the Northern Rivers is 1.3 per cent, the lowest in NSW.

• Average rents in Byron are now 48 per cent of average household income, the highest in all of NSW.

• STHR causes further downward pressure on the already crisis-level of social housing at below 2 per cent of housing stock.

• Increase in homelessness and rough sleeping (Byron is second only to Sydney in rough sleeping).

• Staff shortages at local businesses and public services because workers cannot find accommodation – teachers, nurses, child and aged care, waiters, chefs, cleaners, artists, musicians, drivers etc.

• Many STHR properties are unregistered, uncontrolled, unmonitored

• Failure by owners to declare income or pay capital gains tax by pretending it is the principal residence.

• Residential streets are not meant to be home to pseudo hotels, with different tenants and cleaners frequently coming and going.

Byron needs to follow the lead of other far-thinking tourist destinations. Why should our Shire, one of the busiest tourist hot-spots in Australia, be any different from elsewhere?

• Brisbane – implemented a 50 per cent rate hike where STHR lettings exceed two months each year.

• Los Angeles – STHR restricted to principal home only, where owner must reside for at least six months per year, maximum 120 days per year.

• Amsterdam – maximum 30 nights per year, no more than 4 adults at a time

New York City – minimum 30 days per letting and only for one home per owner

• Mallorca – STHR banned

• Paris – maximum 120 days per year, no subletting, huge fines on landlords and Airbnb.

• San Francisco – maximum 90 nights per year plus hotel tax.

• Barcelona – all STHR must be registered, no new permits since 2014

• Japan – maximum 180 days per year, registration and inspections under hotel licensing laws.

New Orleans – maximum 90 days per year and banned in French Quarter.

Reykjavik – maximum 90 days per year and maximum earnings A$10,300 per year.

It seems obvious that in the interests of ALL of the people of our shire, residents, businesses, renters, employees and the homeless, short term holiday lettings must be severely restricted before any further damage is done to our community. If your readers wish to make a submission they must do so by 8 March 2023 to www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au

Michael Ryan, Bangalow

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  1. I can’t see how STHR premises are not rated as commercial property. There needs to be more policing of STHR and also tax dodgers lying about their primary residences; it seems impossible to me for a STHR to be a primary residence.

      • They are rated as residential with the view to them being rented as a permanent place of residence. The lower rating, I assume, is designed to keep rents down for those just wanting a roof over their heads rather than a holiday.
        STRA is not a residence in this sense but a hotel or backpacker room. These establishments have been traditionally confined to commercial zones due to their incompatibility with residential zones. They also pay higher rates for their greater impact on infrastructure and public amenity. User pay.

        Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me.

        • In the 90s when I was a student, rentals were 6 months fixed, then tentative. I would often live in different suburbs in winter and summer based on seasonal activities. I was not on holiday. Can you please differentiate these ‘holiday goers’ from those who ‘split their residency seasonally’, in a way that the distinction could be quantified and thus written into legislation? Since it’s not rocket science, this should be easy for you.

  2. I think it’s perfectly obvious if someone is residing at a premises rather than holidaying, although arbitrary time frames will always be less than perfect and invite nitpicking. I’d suggest a “season”, around 90 days, is clearly a shortish residential lease while a typical holiday stay is anything from a couple of nights to 30 days.

    And I’ve told you Christian to keep yourself nice!

    • I’ll stick to keeping myself consistent with objective reality – my level of niceness is dependent on the expressed traits of my interlocutor.
      I would suggest you have no valid interest in how others dispose their property in so far as it does not affect the disposition of others property in a singular, avoidable manner. Ubiquitising liability to owners for the actions of renters is a tacit abolishment of property leasing, of all varieties. The current proposal is displaced collective punishment, at best.

      • “ I would suggest you have no valid interest in how others dispose their property in so far as it does not affect the disposition of others property in a singular, avoidable manner”. A bit garbled but I take this to mean that if something doesn’t interfere with how someone uses/enjoys their property it’s not your business. Thing is though it does impact use/enjoyment.

        If this wasn’t what you meant spit it out without using words like “ubiquity sing” a definition for which the Oxford dictionary draws a blank.

        noun: ubiquity
        the fact of appearing everywhere or of being very common.
        “the ubiquity of mobile phones means you don’t really need a watch”

        Sorry but they are responsible – you own it, you profit, you’re in charge – especially when potential offenders are present for such a short time that measures of redress are impossible.

        The current proposal is about devolution of power – about local government having a chance to administer planning according to local circumstances rather than blanket statewide rulings that are more concerned with political opportunism.

        • If it is taking Police weeks to turn up to complains, that’s a Police issue. If you want to set the standard that landlords are responsible for renters actions, they will either include terms of service on rental agreements, or if they can not shield themselves from liability, they will take all rental accommodation, short or long, off the market.

          • If landlords decide it’s not worth while to run STRA because they will need to:
            * abide by a tenant behaviour code of conduct (already in existence)

            plus operate on a level playing field with motels/hotels and:
            * have to pay commercial rates to reflect the extra impact of local government resources
            * have to register and declare income
            * follow the more stringent safety requirements as motels/hotels etc (eg because the people staying aren’t as familiar with their surroundings) …

            then they may decide to rent the property long term or sell it. That’s kinda the idea!


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