New South Wales
Sydney, in New South Wales

New South Wales minister clarifies short-term rental ‘ban’ stance

Australia: Earlier this week, it was reported across Australia that a blanket ban on Airbnbs and all short-term rental accommodation would be coming into effect indefinitely in New South Wales, however a state minister has now moved to clarify the local government’s position on the matter.

There was initial confusion after New South Wales minister for better regulation, Kevin Anderson, warned people to stay in their local area and in their own homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and anyone leaving those without a ‘reasonable excuse’ could be handed a prison sentence of up to six months and a maximum fine of $11,000, with the only exceptions being for travellers moving to short-term accommodation to work, to take care of someone or to stay in one for educational purposes.

A spokesman for the minister added to the confusion when, speaking to the Domain website, they said it would be considered illegal to stay in short-term rentals because of the law requiring everyone to stay at home.

Under the new coronavirus regulations, no one should be staying anywhere else than in their own permanent home, and they could be fined or imprisoned if they were found to be breaking emergency rules.

Subsequently, New South Wales minister Anderson has backtracked on the initial suggestions of a potential ban on rentals in the state: “There is no ban on any kind of accommodation. The New South Wales government advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been very clear.

“As per the public health orders, people must stay home with the exception of a number of circumstances including work and to provide care. The New South Wales government acknowledges that in these circumstances the provision of short-term accommodation is often critical, particularly for our frontline health workers,” he added.

The news comes as the government decided to postpone plans to establish a Code of Conduct as part of a new regulatory framework for the short-term rental industry, which would have made it obligatory for short-term let landlords to take out public liability insurance for their guests and for the operators to inform buildings where their units are located.

The move was criticised by the Owners Corporation Network [OCN] given the escalation of the crisis as it said that short-term renters have been staying in the accommodation to self-isolate.

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