AirBnB under scrutiny

The NSW Government recently released a public paper as a way to provide better regulation of the use of accommodation services like Airbnb and Stayz, which can be viewed here.

Currently a large amount of the regulation of short-term letting arrangements is dealt with on an ad hoc basis by local councils and their views regarding short-term letting can change considerably across NSW.

Property rights in relation to short-term letting has been a considerable public issue for some time as both landlords and guests have grappled with the legal consequences of short-term accommodation.  Case in point, in Swan v Uecker [2016] VSC 313, the Supreme Court of Victoria handed down a decision that found that a tenant who had listed an apartment on Airbnb as being available for short stays had unlawfully and without the consent of the owner sublet the property in breach of its lease with the landlord.

In that decision the Supreme Court found that the Airbnb agreement entered into by the tenant inviting guests to occupy the whole of the property was properly characterised as a lease and as such was in breach of their own tenancy agreement as they had not obtained written authorisation from the landlord.

The NSW Government’s public paper comes after a lengthy inquiry entitled the “Adequacy of the regulation of short-term letting in NSW” and includes a number of recommendations such as planning instruments should be amended to require short-term letters to obtain a licence and pay a levy.

Hamish Esplin

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