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Recommendations made by the City of Sydney Council in their Response to the NSW Parliament’s ‘Options Paper’ would appear to be full of regulatory loopholes and, if adopted, could see thousands of low-income residents and students face eviction across our State.

The City of Sydney however, writes that their proposal “enables short-term letting to deliver positive social and economic benefits with minimal regulatory costs”.

It is stated that metropolitan and regional areas should operate under different systems, as assumptions are made as to what is “likely to occur” outside the Sydney metropolitan area. Criteria for short-term tourist/visitor letting of residential housing as exempt development in metropolitan areas include:

  • Only permitted in a building approved and currently used for residential accommodation;

  • Where the primary resident is present, there be no limit on the number of days;

  • Where the primary resident is absent, activity limited to a specified maximum number of days (either 28, 45, or 90 days) in a calendar year (whether or not the days are consecutive);

  • Limit of 2 adults per bedroom, no limit on children below 16 years old;

  • Limit total number of adult guests to 5;

  • Building required to meet fire regulations;

  • No alterations or additions permitted to the dwelling unless otherwise exempt;

  • Operation needs to comply with a code of conduct;

  • Registration with Fair Trading NSW.

Those who have experience of short-term rentals, here and overseas, will be interested to see that the City of Sydney, reportedly 4th in the world in terms of Airbnb numbers, recommends the establishment of “a simply self-service automated registration process for hosts via booking platforms…”

Another recommendation is to “provide a state-wide definition of short-term letting…that distinguishes the use from other commercial tourist and visitor accommodation uses…”; effectively a ‘use’ different to tourist/visitor accommodation and residential use, yet permitted in residential premises.

Consideration of Titles held on residential property, specific terms of Determination of Development Applications already approved, NSW Land and Environment Court judgments, Sydney’s Visitor and Tourist Accommodation Development Control criteria and Affordable Housing Levy, the Residential Tenancies Act, Building/National Construction Codes, Commonwealth Disability legislation, Commercial Council rates…the City of Sydney’s Response to the NSW Parliament promotes sweeping changes to how we live and work, and the social and financial burden will be borne by - guess who? Our opinion: Floodgates open for the commercialisation of residential housing…

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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