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In NSW there is specific legislation dealing with unlicensed trading by a corporation and individuals. This falls under Fair Trading and covers real estate agents, stock and station agents, business agents, strata/community managing agents and on-site residential property managers. The Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 sets out the Rules of Conduct and Discipline. Monetary penalties (should) apply for non-compliance with this Act. One noted anomaly:

“One does not require a license to manage or operate a general boarding house, but all boarding houses which provide accommodation to 5 or more people for a fee must be registered with Fair Trading.”

There is no indication as to why the Act gives short-term rental operators a total ‘free ride’ on issues such as Federal compliance requirements. The Act does date from prior to the onslaught of Airbnb/Expedia. This Act also reads:

“Short term accommodation booking agents (for stays of not more than 2 months), one does not need a licence if the stays are less than 2 months and one does not accept any money from people making a booking”.

It therefore equate that in NSW when one does take money from people booking short-term accommodation of less than 2 months, it is a condition of the Act that one must hold a licence to do so. How and when has this requirement been enforced and how many enforcement notices and disciplinary fines have been issued? Guessing: Never. Therefore Airbnb’s ‘mums and dads’ are breaking legislation all over the State.

Hansard records quote the (then) Minister for Fair Trading providing guarantees of action against Licensed Agents letting dwellings as short-term accommodation/serviced apartments:

“The Office of Fair Trading would examine any improper or questionable actions undertaken by a real estate agent, including actions that would be in breach of…the strata or tenancy legislation. Penalties…include... cancellation of a licence and disqualification from involvement in a real estate business.”

The NSW Office of Fair Trading has refused every request of ours to examine such Agents. Short-term tourist/visitor rentals are NOT Residential Tenancy Agreements. Very many real estate agent license holders are shunning those seeking housing and letting properties instead as holiday rentals. Again, NSW Fair Trading steadfastly refuses to enforce this area of legislation. The current Minister responsible – Matthew Kean – will not act.

So, if you are looking to rent a home for yourself or your family and expect to be living within a residential community, or you are a licensed accommodation provider, it seems your rights don’t matter one bit to NSW Fair Trading. And here are just some of the Agents that Fair Trading should “examine”– and oh so many more:

Joan Bird, Principal, Ray White Jindabyne - Snow Escape Holidays - gives Airbnb Facebook advice (photo)

Tourism Great Lakes NSW LJ Hooker Batemans Bay Ray White Byron Bay LJ Hooker Byron Bay LJ Hooker Kingscliff LJ Hooker Terrigal with Home/Away Raine & Horne Terrigal Visit the Entrance with Home/Away Elders Real Estate Yamba Yamba Iluaka Real Estate First National Yamba/Yamba Accommodation Centre Jindabyne First National through Jindabyne Accommodation Centre Snowy Mountains Raine and Horne Bedroom Villas Snowy Rivers (1,814 homes) Bedroom Villas Kiama Holiday Rental Specialists Bowral Bedroom Villas Blue Mountains (2,147 homes) Bedroom Villas Eurobodella (1,618 homes) First National (holiday fostertuncurry) JKL Real Estate Hawks Nest First National LJ Hooker Forster Margaret Price Real Estate Blue Mountains Getaways Beach Stays Ian Ritchie Real Estate First National Tweed Coast Port Stephens Holiday Rentals

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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