Noosa Council wants Airbnb hosts to contribute to the region's tourism levy.
Noosa Council wants Airbnb hosts to contribute to the region's tourism levy. Contributed

Councillor slams 'hopeless' Airbnb regulations

ONE Byron Shire Councillor said he believed the State Government isn't doing the right thing in terms of state wide short-term holiday letting (SHTL) regulations.

Michael Lyon said local governments should have the primary ability to regulate according to their own needs.

"For a high tourism council like Byron, where we have a 70 to 1 tourist to resident ratio, we are seeing housing supply at nil and housing affordability sky rocketing for our locals,” Cr Lyon said.

"We're in a different situation to say another regional council that welcome tourism and has no problem with housing supply.”

"You can't take a one size fits all approach and get the best result in each location.”

Byron Shire Councillor Michael Lyon.
Byron Shire Councillor Michael Lyon. Contributed

His comments come after the NSW Government failed to make a decision on proposed reforms on STHL across the state.

It is understood the changes would have capped the number of days home-owners could rent their properties at 180, installed a "two strikes your out” rule, and set up a code of conduct for the industry.

"If you have a 180-day cap, it's meaningless,” Cr Lyon said.

"We've seen in other jurisdictions around the world, where they have a 90-day cap, that it makes it impossible to regulate that.”

"Whether it is 90 or 180 days, what you end up with are short term leases for locals for six months and then they get kicked out, they have the same problems they had six months previously, probably worse because it would be around October or something like that.”

However, Cr Lyon did agree that a two strikes policy would be effective.

Active Airbnb listings in Byron Bay.
Active Airbnb listings in Byron Bay. Contributed Airdna

"They are focused on the rights of investors and the big corporate platforms and they've also focused on local amenity when it comes to noise complaints,” he said.

"It's great they've recognised that we do need a system to protect residential amenity but what they've done is completely ignored the local conditions.”

There are currently over 180 properties in the LGA suspected of unauthorised STHL that Council is actively looking into.

"If it is an entire home, that is owned by someone who is out of town or not usually a resident, that should not be allowed to be on Airbnb for short-term holiday market,” Cr Lyon said.

"It's a different situation if you are letting out a room to make ends meet or if you're in a house for 10 or 11 months or the year and you go away for a month.”

Cr Lyon said yesterday's result "looks a little hopeless”.

"They're not listening, they haven't listened.”

"It shows where their thinking is, they're not concerned about local residents, they're not concerned about local communities.”

"At this stage I don't have much hope they are going to do the right thing, I think the next game becomes exposing this government for the shame that it is leading up to the next state election in March.”