Western Australian short stay accommodation inquiry report released

WA Local Governments’ operations will benefit from a standardised registration scheme for short stay accommodation providers while retaining variance in local planning conditions, following the release of the report into short-term rentals by the Economics and Industry Standing Committee.

Among the recommendations highlighted in the report, Levelling the Playing Field, are a mandatory statewide registration scheme and requiring online platforms to display a valid registration number for short-term rentals.

Another recommendation was ensuring online platforms be required to provide data on all short-term rental properties, establishing an information-sharing mechanism between state and local government authorities.

The report also proposes setting and imposing penalties for non-compliance, managing complaints about short-term rentals and enforcing compliance with local government controls.

Bradley Woods, CEO of Australian Hotels Association (AHA) for WA, commended the work of the committee, but implored parliament to endorse the report’s recommendations.

“This has been perhaps the most thorough examination of unregulated short stay accommodation in Australia,” he said.

“The committee received over 350 written submissions from a range of stakeholders, most of whom supported greater regulation of short stay accommodation … for too long we have seen platforms like Airbnb compete directly with licensed accommodation providers, but did not face the same regulatory, taxation or fire and safety burdens.

“This report will be welcomed by not just WA accommodation providers, but by industry stakeholders and their employees across Australia.”

Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) CEO Dean Long also welcomed the recommendations of the report, but said there was still work to be done in developing a better definition of short-term rentals.

The AAoA is also calling for the development of model by-laws to assist strata owners to be addressed.

“While there are a range of excellent recommendations in the report, they fall short of addressing the issues around safety and amenity, with the burden largely falling on local government authorities to ensure compliance,” Long said.

TAA national CEO Michael Johnson said the organisation looked forward to working closely with the Government to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented in full.

“For too long we have seen the proliferation of unregulated short-stay accommodation across Australia, however, we are now seeing a number of jurisdictions take action to regulate and bring into line short-stay accommodation platforms and the properties they list,” Johnson said.