Short-term rental accommodation
The State Government is implementing initiatives to support a consistent and equitable approach to the short-term rental accommodation market in Western Australia.
What is short-term rental accommodation? Who is involved in this initiative?Why are these initiatives being undertaken?
Short-term rental accommodation can be defined as holiday homes, units or apartments usually built for residential purposes in residential areas. Short-term rental accommodation is generally offered via an online booking platform or other third party booking mechanism (such as through a real estate agent) and can be either hosted or un-hosted.
The use of short-term rental accommodation is a long-standing tradition for Western Australian families, especially over the summer and school holiday periods. Commonly, they can be:
- a family holiday home
- a property purchased solely for the purpose of short-term renting, or
- residents looking to let spare bedrooms, sections of the house or ancillary accommodation on a short-term basis.
How is short-term rental accommodation currently regulated and managed?
The success of online booking platforms offering accommodation has seen a rapid increase in short-term rentals in Western Australia, with high concentrations of offerings in popular tourist locations.
The inquiry found that short-term rentals are a genuine income source for some people and are increasingly used by guests; however, there was often inconsistent regulatory requirements and numerous examples of adverse impacts on neighbours and local communities.
What are the benefits of the short-term rental initiatives that have come out of the Levelling the Playing Field report?
Local Government are responsible for establishing and managing any planning and regulatory requirements for short-term rental accommodation. This discretion facilitates flexible responses to local conditions and the wishes of communities.
The existing role and responsibility of Local Government to regulate short-term rental accommodation is still essential; the proposed initiatives will complement existing local planning frameworks and provide greater clarity for short-stay accommodation providers and the broader community.
How will the registration scheme for short-term rentals work?
- Provide consistent and up to date guidance for local governments, industry, short-term rental accommodation operators and the public
- Support economic growth
- Assist with ongoing regulation and management of the sector to ensure that any impact of short-term rental accommodation is appropriately managed
- Collect data to assist Government to sustainably plan for tourism in Western Australia.
How will owners/operators of short-term accommodation be affected?
The interagency working group is developing a preferred model for the registration scheme and key stakeholders will be engaged to gain feedback before the final model is recommended to Government.
It is likely that the scheme will require operators to address compliance requirements in order to receive a valid registration number which will be displayed on online booking platforms
A preferred model for the registration scheme will be presented to Government for approval by late 2020. Operators and online booking platforms will have a six-month transition period, once the registration scheme commences, to obtain a valid registration number.
Are all forms of short-term and temporary accommodation affected by the registration scheme?
There are no immediate changes resulting from the release of the report. The current requirements in place by the respective Local Government authority continue to apply. Any changes resulting from these initiatives will be widely communicated with plenty of notice given prior to any changes coming into effect.
Once a registration scheme is in place, owners/operators will be required to register their short-term rental accommodation with the scheme and demonstrate compliance with existing regulatory requirements.
Updates will continue to be provided on the Department’s website and directly to stakeholders as information becomes available.
What will a Tourism Planning Position Statement do and what will it affect?
Only short-term rental accommodation (as described above) is intended to be captured by the registration scheme.
Other forms of accommodation, including but not limited to hotels, motels, resorts, serviced apartments, caravan parks, cabins/chalets and licensed bed and breakfasts will not be affected by the registration scheme.
House swapping, house-sitting arrangements, student exchange accommodation and personal use of a holiday home (or sharing that holiday home with family and friends) are also not intended to by captured by the registration scheme.
A position statement sets out the policy position of the Western Australian Planning Commission with respect to a particular matter.
A new Tourism Planning Position Statement will set out the considerations for planning for tourism in Western Australia through strategic and statutory planning instruments, such as a local planning strategy, local planning scheme or local planning policies. This will include land use definitions for local government to utilise through their planning documents. The Tourism Planning Position Statement will cover all types of tourism accommodation.