New Airbnb Rules in Australia

new airbnb rules australia

By The Hospitable Team

Compared to much of the international regulation of the short-term rental market, Australia’s Airbnb regulations are lenient to encourage the tourism economy. That’s why buying a property in an idyllic coastal town in Australia and renting it out to holiday-goers on sites like Airbnb or Stayz can be a great way to earn extra income and subsidize some of your expenses.

But amid the nationwide housing supply crisis, state governments in Australia have announced changes to short-stay accommodation rules to limit the availability of some properties for short-term holiday rentals.

In this article, we’ll share some information to help you understand the new Airbnb rules in Australia that govern using properties for short-term stays. This info isn’t exhaustive but can facilitate your research of local STR laws in a specific location.

New Airbnb Rules in Australia

If you’re considering starting an Airbnb in Australia, it’s important to consider legal issues first and ensure you fully comply with any laws for your area at the state and city levels. Another smart move is to automate your hosting routine using vacation rental management software like Hospitable, allowing you to put your STR business on autopilot.

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To help you navigate regulatory challenges, the latest Hospitable Hosts podcast invited vacation rental expert Keiran Craig-Jones, Executive Director at Short Term Accommodation Association Australia (STAAA), to share her insights on new regulations impacting Australian short-term rental hosts in 2024.

Keiran has gained extensive experience as a vacation rental host in the UK. When she returned to Australia, she noticed a significant gap in the support and resources available to Australian STR hosts compared to Europe and the United States. This realization led her to founding the Short Term Accommodation Association Australia (STAAA).

Chatting with Ethan Brown, the Asia-Pacific Team Lead at Hospitable, Keiran covered a broad spectrum of topics essential for every host to understand the future landscape of short-term rentals (STR) in Australia.

Here is what you should know about the new Airbnb rules in Australia announced by state governments in 2023.

Western Australia

In November 2023, the WA government announced new regulations for unhosted short-term rental accommodation (STRA) in Western Australia. They establish a state-wide register for all short-term rental accommodation properties. The registry will be made publicly available so anyone can check whether a neighboring property is a short-stay accommodation.

All short-term rental accommodation providers will be required to register their properties before being able to list and take bookings, including from online platforms like Airbnb and its alternatives in Australia. Registrations are expected to open in mid-2024, and all homes must be registered by January 1, 2025.

Planning requirements in the Perth metropolitan area will be changed. Property owners who want to rent out their homes for more than 90 nights a year must get planning approval from their council. Local governments will determine when planning approval is required in regional areas, including the Peel region.

Airbnb owners in Western Australia will be offered incentives of $10,000 to make their properties available to long-term tenants. To qualify for the $10,000 payment, property owners need to have an entire property for rent on short-stay booking platforms within the previous six weeks. Applicants will also be required to provide a minimum 12-month lease agreement to new, long-term tenants, with a maximum cap on rent based on region. 

Victoria

In September 2023, the Victorian government introduced a state-wide 7.5% consumer levy on short-term accommodation bookings through platforms like Airbnb and Stayz. The tax on short-term rental stays is scheduled to come into effect in January 2025, and as the authorities in Victoria said, it would go towards funding more social housing.

Several Victorian councils in tourist hotspots, including Frankston, Mornington Peninsula, and Warrnambool Shire, have introduced annual charges for short-term accommodation hosts. For example, the Bass Coast Shire Council introduced measures including a $300 annual fee for accommodation providers and an online platform to register the property.

Bass Coast Shire hosts must also take responsibility for their guests’ behavior. They are expected to nominate a contact person available at any time who can travel to the property within two hours.

New South Wales

New South Wales has been one of the first state governments to enforce Airbnb restrictions, including a 180-day limit for unhosted short-term rentals in greater Sydney. Although critics say the rules are not enforced, the 180-day cap also applies to some regional local government areas, including Newcastle, Ballina, the Bega Valley, and parts of the Clarence Valley. Most short-term accommodation hosts in NSW are also required to register their properties.

In September 2023, the New South Wales state government approved a request from the Byron Shire council to limit the unhosted short-term rents for some properties to 60 days per year. This way, authorities are trying to free up homes for long-term residents. However, hosted short-term rentals, where the host resides on the premises during the guest’s stay, are unaffected by the new guidelines.

Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most visited tourism destinations and has one of the country’s highest concentrations of short-term rental properties. So, the 60-day cap is expected to reduce the impact of short-term letting on the rental market.

The new STR rules will take effect in September 2024 and only apply to certain areas. Parts of Byron Bay and nearby Brunswick Heads that are highly popular with tourists will continue to operate without a cap, allowing for year-round use.

Queensland

Queensland completed a short-term accommodation review in August 2023. As part of the review, the University of Queensland was engaged as an independent body to assess the impacts of short-term rentals on housing affordability and availability across different communities.

The review revealed that short-term rentals are most prevalent in high-tourism coastal areas, including Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Noosa, Douglas, Whitsunday, Cairns, Moreton Bay, and Townsville.

The review also found that short-term rentals have a limited impact on rental affordability. Instead, dwelling stocks emerged as a significant contributor to the increase in rental prices. The Queensland state government is considering creating a register for Airbnb, Stayz, and short-term rentals as a tool to support local governments in monitoring STR activity and inform evidence-based regulation.

South Australia

For Keiran Graig-Jones from STAAA, South Australia’s regulatory environment presents a picture of caution. Despite drafting legislation years ago, the state has opted to observe the regulatory outcomes in other regions before pressing forward.  

Keiran thinks the government of South Australia is currently monitoring all the other states to see what happens, and obviously, they will follow along with every other state. That’s why she advises hosts in South Australia to subscribe to local government updates to stay informed about potential reforms and reviews affecting vacation rentals.

Tasmania

In February 2024, Tasmanian Liberals promised to introduce a 5% levy on all short-stay accommodation in the state. The levy would be paid by travelers, not the property owners, and would be used to fund a first-home buyers program.

A 5% tax announcement was made without industry consultation ahead of elections and has taken hosts by surprise. The tax is also viewed as discriminatory because it would not be applied to other accommodation types, such as hotels and pubs.

How to Keep Up with Local Vacation Rental Laws

If you want to become an Airbnb host, understanding local laws that govern short-term rentals in your area is a must. Keep in mind that short-term rental regulations are constantly changing, so you should regularly consult your local government to learn about the new Airbnb laws in Australia that apply to your area. It’s also important to seek legal advice to ensure you stay compliant.

Talking about the specific changes and challenges Australian hosts face in each region, Keiran Craig-Jones emphasized the importance of staying connected with local government updates. You may subscribe to email notifications from local governments and state planning departments and participate in surveys and consultations.

For those hesitant about approaching these surveys, STAAA offers support, guiding members through the process to ensure their voices are heard effectively. You may reach out to them if you need help writing any answers.

If you’re looking to improve your community engagement and navigate the complexities of Australian regulations with confidence, listen to the full episode of our Hospitable Hosts podcast!

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