Regulations governing Airbnb in Sydney

Regulations governing Airbnb in Sydney: Guide for Hosts


With the rise of the sharing economy, short-term rental platforms like Airbnb have become a significant part of the tourism industry. Sydney, known for its iconic landmarks and vibrant culture, is a top destination for travelers. However, to ensure a balanced coexistence of short-term rentals and traditional residential living, the New South Wales (NSW) Government has implemented regulations specific to the short-term rental accommodation industry. This guide will provide you with an overview of these regulations governing Airbnb in Sydney to help you navigate the legal landscape of hosting on Airbnb in Sydney.

Regulatory Guidelines for the Short-Term Rental Accommodation Sector

The compulsory Code of Conduct for the Short-term Rental Accommodation Industry (the Code) was instituted on December 18, 2020. This Code establishes baseline standards of conduct and prerequisites for all involved parties, including reservation platforms, hosts, guests, as well as letting agents and facilitators.

The Code was further updated on 28 May 2021 to reflect the forthcoming commencement of planning instruments and the Short-term Rental Accommodation (STRA) register. These obligations commenced on 1 November 2021. Changes to the Code in October 2021 provide that booking platforms are only required to check that the premises are registered before advertising that premises. Additionally, booking platforms must provide specific information to the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment.

Consequences of Breaching the Code

The Code additionally sets forth disciplinary measures that can be implemented by NSW Fair Trading in instances of non-compliance, such as including non-adherent participants on an Exclusion Register. The levying of penalties must adhere to a just procedure as defined in the Code and Regulation, including provisions for contesting decisions to impose a penalty for violation of the Code.

Short-Term Rental Regulations in Specific Areas of New South Wales

In specific council areas of New South Wales (NSW), there are restrictions on the duration a property can be used for non-hosted short-term rental accommodation (STRA).

In the Greater Sydney region (excluding the Central Coast) non-hosted STRA is capped at a maximum of 180 days per year in the following regions.The 180-day cap is accounted for within a registration yearly period, which is a 12-month duration starting from the initial date of registration on the NSW STRA Register. Read more here

Changes to Strata and Tenancy Laws

As of April 10, 2020, amendments have been implemented in strata and tenancy laws concerning short-term rental accommodation. These amendments allow owners’ corporations to enact by-laws to restrict short-term rental arrangements within their strata scheme, especially by prohibiting such rentals in units that do not serve as the host’s primary residence. However, hosts who live in a strata property as their principal place of residence can still rent out their home or rooms while they live there, or while they are temporarily away. Furthermore, residential tenancy laws have been adjusted to clarify that short-term rental accommodation arrangements of 3 months or less are not covered by the residential tenancy laws.

STRA Register

Starting from November 1, 2021, it became mandatory for most hosts to enlist their short-term rental accommodation (STRA) properties on the STRA register maintained by the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment. Properties must be officially registered on this platform before they can be promoted or made available for short-term rental.Please note that there are fees associated with registration.

Fire safety standards for STRA

Properties intended for use as short-term rental accommodation (STRA) are mandated to meet fire safety standards. These standards are set forth in the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021, which stipulates:

  • The introduction of minimum fire safety standards for STRA properties and associated penalties for non-compliance.
  • A requirement for all STRA properties to adhere to these fire safety standards, which includes having an evacuation plan and interconnected smoke alarms in place.
  • An obligation for all STRA properties to be listed on the Government-operated STRA Register as a way to confirm compliance with the newly instituted fire safety standards.

New Planning Policy

In November 2021, fresh planning legislations were enacted, one of which includes a uniform planning policy that regulates the usage of properties for short-term rental accommodation throughout the entire state of New South Wales.

Future Changes

The public-facing Exclusion Register is currently under development. Requirements under the Code relating to the Exclusion Register will start when the public-facing register becomes operational.

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By understanding and adhering to the regulations governing Airbnb in Sydney, you can ensure your hosting journey is compliant and respectful to the broader community. While this guide provides a comprehensive overview, it’s essential to keep yourself updated with any changes in the regulations. As a host, your obligations go beyond offering a welcoming environment to your guests; they also include upholding the regulations within Sydney’s dynamic short-term rental accommodation sector.

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