Understanding the Code of Conduct for Short-Term Rentals

Understanding the Code of Conduct for Short-Term Rentals

Many NSW families are expected to spend their summers in coastal and regional destinations, like Byron Bay, and with that we often see an increased demand for short-term holiday rentals during this season.

As welcomed as this is for the community and local economy here, there have been issues in the past with inconsiderate or anti-social behaviour by some short-term rental occupants.

In a bid to reduce the amenity impacts on residential neighbours while still supporting seasonal tourism, the department of Fair Trading has released a code of conduct to help manage short-term rental accommodation.

These mandatory regulations were rolled out in December 2020 by the NSW Government.

The key elements of the framework are:

  •       A state-wide planning framework to achieve consistency and certainty across local planning controls.
  •       A code of conduct to apply to online accommodation platforms, letting agents, facilitators, hosts and guests.
  •       Changes to strata laws to allow owners corporations to adopt by-laws that prohibit non-resident lot owners from offering short term rentals.
  •       A mandatory short-term rental accommodation premises register.
  • Ultimately, the objective of these regulations is to clearly set out the rights and obligations for all parties involved.

Guest obligations

  1.      Guests must not make noise that unreasonably disrupts their neighbours.
  2.      Guest must not cause damage to the premises, including any common property in a strata scheme or association property in a community scheme.
  3.      Guests are responsible for the actions of their visitors and must ensure they comply with the behaviour standards set out in the code.

Host obligations

  1. Hosts must hold insurance that covers their liability for third party injuries and death.
  2. Hosts must enable their neighbours to contact them, or their authorised representatives, about concerns relating to their premises by giving them their contact details and being available between 8am and 5pm each day.
  3. Hosts must take reasonable steps to ensure their guests meet their behaviour obligations in the code, including by making them aware that the code applies to their stay and making a copy of the code readily available to them.
  4. Hosts must ensure they do not rent out their premises to a guest who is recorded on the exclusion register.
  5. A short-term rental accommodation premises register is currently being developed and is expected to commence in 2021. Once this commences, hosts must register themselves and their premises on the short-term rental accommodation premises register.

What are the penalties for poor conduct?

The Commissioner for Fair Trading will be the one responsible for determining the appropriate disciplinary action for any poor conduct.

Depending on the severity, they may do one or more than one of the following:

  1. Issue a warning notice to the participant to inform them they must comply with the code in future or face disciplinary action.
  2. Issue a direction to the participant which lays out specific rules they must follow in order to remain in the short-term rental. These rules may include a minimum or maximum occupancy period, maximum number of visitors allowed, restrictions of common property, prohibition of certain behaviours or other conditions.
  3. Record a strike against a host or guest.
  4. Record a host or guest on the exclusion register. 

Read the full code of conduct in detail here.