Mayors across New South Wales to seek tough limits on short-term holiday rentals to tackle housing shortage if state government accepts recommendations to allow Byron shire council to impose 60-day annual limit .
Amid warnings from Airbnb that such a cap would deal a major blow to Byron Bay’s economy, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said he would jump at the opportunity to impose a similar cap on the region, which is facing similar pressures.
“I’m not against Airbnb, but I am against its unregulated nature,” he said Friday.
“We’re the same as Byron: a tourist destination… if Byron gets it, we’ll use it.”
The recommended 60-day limit was outlined in advice issued this week by the state’s Independent Planning Commission, after Byron shire council last year voted for a 90-day limit. The advice was sought after the former NSW government stepped in and canceled the plan.
Related: Battle for Byron Bay: NSW advised to allow 60 day limits on short term rentals in resort towns
The commission recommended that a tougher tightening to 60 days would provide enough incentive that would more likely see people return properties to the long-term rental market, advocating “accidental use of houses” as holiday homes.
Planning Minister Paul Scully is yet to deliver, but the advice has been welcomed by Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon and many in the community.
Other local government leaders said they could consider similar limits to improve housing affordability for residents, including nurses and teachers, who are struggling to find housing in part due to homes stuck on short-term rentals.
Snowy Monaro Regional Council Mayor Narelle Davis said his region has been similarly affected by high levels of housing stress, especially during ski season.
“We have a general housing shortage – emergency workers, nurses, doctors, all our essential services arriving are struggling to find accommodation,” he said.
“We would definitely like to look at what Byron is doing and consider what our options are.”
Davis said much of Jindabyne has been locked up in short-term rentals. Forcing people to vacate those properties for workers could be part of the solution, but more needs to be done to increase the overall housing stock, she said.
Ballina County Mayor, which borders Byron, Sharon Cadwallader, said there was a major housing problem in the region.
But he said people should be aware of the potential effects such caps could have on tourism if accommodation becomes harder to find.
“If you want to attract conferences, you need accommodation. For the economy, it’s very important,” Cadwallader said.
Northern Rivers director of Business NSW Jane Laverty said limited caps are not the answer and short-term rentals are important to keep people coming to the region and support small businesses.
Related: NSW’s most popular holiday spots have split over limits on Airbnb rentals
“The affordability and housing crisis will not be solved by cutting short-term vacation rentals,” he said. “The goal should be to increase the number of new homes across the state.”
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos, whose council oversees popular places like Bondi and Tamarama, continuously monitored the adequacy of state laws affecting Airbnb and said she would consult with the community on any changes.
“Short-term rental housing has an impact on housing affordability, residential services and the displacement of long-term residents,” he said.
But the advice was not welcomed by all, including Airbnb Australia’s public policy manager Michael Crosby, who said the company and homeowners using the platform in Byron Bay were both surprised and disappointed by the roof. advised.
“[It] it would have significant negative economic impacts on a city and region heavily dependent on tourism and could hurt jobs and small businesses at a crucial time,” he said.