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Planning responses to online short-term holiday rental platforms

Research project for Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc.

24 Sep 2018

This research project sought to identify appropriate planning responses to the rise of online platforms for short term holiday rental accommodation in coastal Australia.

The objectives of the research project were to:

  • Identify the specific issues, opportunities and risks arising from online listings of short term holiday rental properties in different coastal communities of Australia;
  • Identify relevant planning responses to the growth in online short-term holiday rental platforms in terms of local government planning frameworks, rating regimes, licensing and regulations, and complaints mechanisms;
  • Define the tools and strategies required to address concerns around the amenity, tourism, infrastructure, cost burdens and potential housing market impacts of growth in short-term, online holiday rentals; and
  • Investigate emerging international responses to these issues, and potential lessons for coastal Australia.

The research approaches included:

  • A national planning and policy review
  • Compilation and analysis of available data on short term rental accommodation trends, including online listings and trend data
  • A review of emerging international responses to managing the impacts of online holiday rentals on permanent communities;
  • Interviews and focus groups with 53 planners, holiday rental providers, tourism groups, and local stakeholders in specific case study communities; and,
  • A national one day forum involving 39 representatives of coastal councils, local government associations and the short-term holiday rental industry.

Twelve local councils funded the study, in association with the Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc. (ACCA): Byron, Port Macquarie, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla in New South Wales (NSW), Douglas, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay in Queensland, Bass Coast, Mornington Peninsula and Moyne in Victoria (VIC), and Busselton in Western Australia (WA). These communities are characterised by significant differences in relation to their settlement, population and economic structure, tourism industry and the balance between formal accommodation (e.g. resorts, hotels, motels, serviced apartments, Bed and Breakfast providers, backpacker lodges, caravan parks) and informal holiday rentals.

The rapid growth of online platforms for residential holiday rental accommodation has impacted these communities in different ways, raising important new opportunities but also presenting new risks and challenges.

This report identifies these opportunities and risks and proposes planning responses, tools and strategies that can be adopted by coastal councils. It provides a guideline checklist to assist council decision-making in relation to these issues.

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