Western Australia moves to regulate short-term lets

Australia: The government of Western Australia recently received a list of ten suggestions for how to regulate short-term rentals.

This follows a parliamentary inquiry on the sector, which produced a data report pertaining to the future of short-term lets.

This inquiry recommended a flexible, low-cost, and user-friendly registration system for short-term rental providers with the state government. It also compared the possible income rentals can provide with potential future community impact.

Other recommendations include:

  • amending land-use definitions to clearly differentiate between hosted and un-hosted accommodation
  • develop legislative or regulatory processes to have accommodation providers clearly display a valid registration number on all online selling platforms
  • updating strata rules to provide power to manage short-term rental operators and to create an educational campaign to ensure owners and property managers are aware of their obligations when operating a premises as a short-term rental.

The government has pledged to adopt nearly all of the recommendations. It has also established an interagency group in order to create the registration system.

Western Australia planning minister Rita Saffoti said: “We acknowledge the value that the community places on having access to short-term rentals and the contribution this sector is making to our economy through emerging service industries and new jobs – but we must also make sure there are appropriate protocols in place to ensure sustainability and support our traditional accommodation providers.”

Australia has seen significant rental investment, most recently Guesty, who began doing business there in November. In response to the country’s wildfires, Airbnb has opened its platform to provide free housing to those tackling the disasters.

Groups like the Australian Hotel Association and the Accommodation Association have both acknowledged the need for legislation. They are, however, concerned that the measures are not doing enough to manage safety, and urge clarity with regards to penalties and fines.