Media release - State, local govt aligned on need for home-share balance and clarity

18 May 2018

The NSW Government and local government sector are working together to ensure a home-sharing system in which the interests of long-term residents are protected without losing the economic benefits of services such as AirBnB, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said today.

LGNSW President Linda Scott was speaking after productive discussions with Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, in which she advocated that councils play a role in the management of home sharing.

 “Minister Roberts clearly recognises the impact of home sharing differs across NSW, from central business districts through regional and rural cities and towns, and coastal locations,” Clr Scott said.

“Local governments are best placed to make the right decisions for their communities and impose appropriate caps for the number of nights of home sharing.

 “We all agree that we need clarity in NSW, so potential hosts can make their business and investment decisions accordingly.”

Clr Scott said a number of councils shared the Government’s concerns about the impact of home-sharing on housing affordability, with investors driving up home prices beyond the reach of owner-buyers, and reduced rental stock.

She issued a strong call for ongoing research to help identify any impacts on housing affordability as a result of home-sharing.

 “A 2017 University of Sydney study suggested up to 6,000 homes had been taken out of Sydney’s permanent rental housing market by home-sharing services such as Airb’n’B,” she said.

“Other global cities such as London, New York and San Francisco have expressed the same concerns, and adopted a locally-based night-cap process to help ensure fulltime residents aren’t priced out of local housing markets by investors.”

Clr Scott said a system in which individuals and or professional bodies registered their property and reported the number of nights let would be a simple way to manage the growing social phenomenon of home sharing.

 “A state-wide register is the simplest way to allow comparisons between similar areas across the state, and to support councils to apply locally-based night caps that support tourism without negative impact on the community.

“It also assists compliance – and most importantly, will provide data that will enable government to monitor the impact of home sharing on housing affordability.

 “It’s important we get it right.

“We need enough flexibility for a local approach: rural and regional areas need the capacity to boost their economies through tourism, while metropolitan areas have to balance tourism with the availability and affordability of housing for permanent residents.

“This is a unique opportunity to put in place a balanced framework that will enable the tourism industry to grow while safeguarding the interests of residents, communities and other traditional short-term accommodation providers.”

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