The introduction of a new code of conduct for the short term rental industry in NSW has been welcomed by industry body ASTRA, which represents property owners and managers, as a major step forward.

ASTRA Chairman Rob Jeffress hailed it as a “coming of age for the industry” which he estimates covers  70,000-80,000 owners and property operators with a combined investment in excess of $35 billion.

“Our industry now provides 25% of overall tourism accommodation in NSW and contributes over $15 billion to the NSW economy, whilst supporting thousands of local contractors and businesses each year,” Jeffress said.

“We now now have a sound working plan for moving forward.

“It’s a landmark which will see professional standards across the industry and a consistent, quality framework for the entire state.”

He added: “But the real value goes deeper still, as both Registration and the Code are only elements of the major outcomes of the Parliamentary Inquiry, the NSW Planning Options Paper in 2017 and legislation that followed.

“The far deeper outcomes are that STRA was determined as a permissible use of residential property (this provided certainty for tens of thousands of NSW owners) and it also recognised STRA as a ‘residential’ use like longer term tenancies rather than a commercial use which required Commercial building compliance.”

The Code of Conduct applies from December 18 this year, however a key component of enforcing the rules – a register of all active STR properties – will not be live until June 2021.

Leading holiday rental site Stayz welcomed the code of conduct announcement but Corporate Affairs Director, Eacham Curry claimed the delay in launching the STR property register made no sense.

“The need for a register of all short-term rental accommodation is accepted by all parts of the industry and community,” Mr Curry said.

“Without the register, it is next to impossible to enforce compliance with the new rules for holiday rentals. As a result, the workability of the entire regulatory solution – over four years in the making – is at risk of failure.”

Curry said “Stayz will do its best to assist the holiday homeowners who list on its platform to be compliant with the new rule book.

“However, not all rental platforms are as diligent as us, and there is a real risk that other platforms with no physical presence in Australia will thumb their noses at the new rules.”

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