Short-term holiday letting has been a traditional activity, especially in holiday areas, for many years. Managed by property owners themselves or by local agents, it has sometimes flown under the regulatory radar, occurring with limited impact and scrutiny whether or not it was actually a permitted land use.
With the advent of online advertising platforms, however, it is now much easier for property owners to let their properties, whether their principal place of residence, an empty beach house, or an investment property, for short-term occupation. The numbers we heard about, not just in holiday areas, but across the state, attest to a rapid growth in letting and an expansion of the tourist and visitor accommodation market.
The views we heard from stakeholders were polarised. Many people supported an easing of rules governing short-term letting as a way to grow tourism and broaden ways to earn income from under-utilised assets. Others saw short-term letting as an impost in residential areas, and as having an unfair advantage over traditional accommodation providers whose costs and obligations reflect their commercial status.
There was general consensus around the need for a consistent definition of short-term letting within planning legislation.
For the NSW government response to this inquiry report - see Related Content (below)