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June 16, 2024

State government approves 60-day cap on short-term holiday letting in Byron

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The state government has approved  a new 60-day cap on non-hosted short-term rental accommodation (STRA) for large parts of the Byron Shire. Most of NSW has no cap, but Byron Shire previously had a 180-day cap like Ballina, Greater Sydney and a handful of other areas. The 60-day cap will not apply in some high tourism areas in Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads, which will have no cap. Hosted short-term rentals, anywhere in Byron Shire, will also have no cap.

A press release on Tuesday morning by NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, said the decision was in response to the Independent Planning Commission’s recommendation, and Byron Shire Council’s planning proposal ‘to encourage homes to be returned to the long term rental market’.

A 12-month transition period was also announced, and Council will be ‘responsible for monitoring compliance with the policy.’

As Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Wollongong-based Labor MP, Paul Scully, is now in charge of a large army of planning staff, mostly based in Bridge Street, Sydney. Photo paulscullymp.com.au

Scully’s press release says, ‘Some precincts in Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads with high tourism appeal, near beaches and services, were identified by Council to operate without a cap – allowing for year-round use.

‘Hosted short-term rentals (where the host resides on the premises during the stay), are unaffected by this decision, and can be undertaken 365 days per year.

Local state MP, Tamara Smith (Greens), told The Echo, ‘This is a huge win for our community and a testament to people power’.

She said, ‘We will be pushing for it to come into effect sooner than 12 months in consultation with Council, as quite frankly, we don’t have time to wait given the extreme housing crises we are in.

‘For over a decade the Greens have relentlessly pushed for the community to be able to rein in unfettered short-term holiday letting.

‘I’m so proud of our community for not giving up. We are very grateful to the minister for seeing sense on this issue.

‘It won’t be a panacea, but it will make a difference, and it is a lighthouse moment for councils across the state struggling to shift whole homes away from short term online platforms into the long term rental market.

‘A house is a home and people in our community desperately need homes’, Smith said.

Byron a special case

Scully’s press release continues, ‘Byron Shire’s housing pressures are different to other NSW locations, with the percentage of short-term rentals exceeding that of similar destinations’.

‘The return of non-hosted short-term rental properties to permanent residency is only one part of helping to address housing supply and affordability issues in the Byron Shire, as noted by the Independent Planning Commission.

‘Before endorsing the Shire’s planning proposal, the NSW government asked Council to detail how it intended to improve housing supply, in addition to introducing the rental cap.

‘The Department of Planning and Environment will now work with Council to monitor its commitment to increase housing supply, over the coming year to achieve its broader housing supply commitments to deliver over 4,500 houses by 2041.

‘Adopting all recommendations from the IPC report at this time would have had broader implications for the whole short term rental network across the state.

‘The department will instead take these recommendations into account as part of its broader STRA review later this year.

‘As we confront the housing crisis facing Byron Bay, a DA pathway is not recommended for non-hosted STRA beyond the 60-day cap, because more time and legal work is required to develop and implement such an approach.

‘Council also requires more time to establish resources and an assessment framework.

‘Separate to Council’s planning proposal, the department will begin a scheduled review of the short-term rental policy framework later this year, two years after it came into effect.

‘Non-hosted STRA is currently restricted to a maximum of 180 days any 365 day period in Greater Sydney, and self-nominated local government areas (Ballina, Byron, parts of Clarence Valley, parts of Muswellbrook).

‘Outside of these nominated LGAs, non-hosted short-term rentals may take place 365 days a year,’ Scully’s press release said.

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  1. Surely the reason for the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) doing this report was to address the impact of STRA on housing in high tourist areas? This was ‘stream-lined’ to non-hosted STRAs. I am of the opinion members of the IPC were very much aware of the pressure on the supply of long term rental housing in high tourist areas such as Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads. The submissions and most definitely the presentations would substantiate that! The Minister, in making his decision, that non-hosted STRAs in high tourist areas continues as is, has defended the status quo and dismissed all the evidence supporting the cap as recommended by the IPC. Those in need of long term rental accommodation appear to be left out? I hope I’m in error on the aforementioned as I’m left wondering what was achieved?

  2. “‘For over a decade, the Greens have relentlessly pushed for the community to be able to rein in unfettered short-term holiday letting.”

    Err, it was actually the present Independent Mayor, Michael Lyon, who was a Green at the time, who has been relentlessly pushing for the community to be able to rein in unfettered short-term holiday letting for that time.

    As for Local State MP, Tamara Smith (Greens), it’s just another press release.

    • You are correct that Mayor Michael Lyon has been relentless in trying to control STRA. You failed to mention the two previous mayors, Jan Barham and Simon Richardson who were also trying to rein in STRA. Both of them were Green’s.

      • The Greens may well have a different view of GREEN Simon nowadays.

        Is he still a Green member, or did he go the same way as Mayor Michael Lyon, at the same time?

        As for the other Mayor, STRAs barely existed when she was around, and not many DAs either.

        Appears to be a green rewriting of history, trying to claim what was not theirs.

        It’s a pity that People have long memories, Eh?

      • I have just checked. To help you understand, this is what is known as History.

        Airbnb was founded in 2008 in the USA and came to Australia in August 2012.

        Mayor Barham finished in 2012 and Simon Richardson was then elected Mayor in September 2012.

        She must have been a visionary.

        • While the online platforms may have been a great accelerator, the issues with STRA in Byron Shire existed well before their advent.

          I wrote to Council in 1997 about problem STRAs and asking whether commercial tourist accommodation was permitted in residential zones. I’m still waiting for a reply.

          Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL) formed, I believe in 2003.

          Sorry but I have to stand up for Jan here, who certainly supported the growing complaints that STRA, especially in a “party town”, was destroying the peaceful enjoyment of residential homes, gutting neighbourhoods of locals and a sense of community and placing inequitable burdens on services and infrastructure while dodging commercial rates and licensing.

          There are plenty among the locals who have been visionary about STRA

  3. The major issue will be the enforcement of the 60-day cap. NSW Planning and Council will need to devise better and more creative methods to ensure compliance. There is a significant number of recalcitrant, unethical and dishonest STRA owners and managers who are exceeding the current 180-day cap in Byron Shire because they don’t feel that the cap regulation applies to them and they can get away with it.

    • The committee paper to the government recommended 8 changes. The government adopted 1 of them. One of the recommendations was a special streamlined DA process for STRA owners to help council monitor use. This was not adopted.

    • Large fines should be part of the enforcement. They would be attempting to gain greater financial benefits so they should pay heavily if caught.


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