Pamela Wells, the owner of Fairlight Cottage in Seelands, has been  using Airbnb and Stayz to bring in business to her bnb.
Pamela Wells, the owner of Fairlight Cottage in Seelands, has been using Airbnb and Stayz to bring in business to her bnb. Caitlan Charles

The new rules to govern short term rentals

WITH a decision finally made on the future of short-term holiday rentals in NSW, one Clarence Valley resident who rents out a cottage on their property believes the government's rulings are fair.

Pamela Wells, who rents out the Fairlight Cottage on her Seelands property, said the average gross income for a short-term holiday rental host in a property like hers was $3000 to $6000 a year.

The new NSW Government short-term rental policy will see four things occur:

Allowing short-term holiday letting as exempt development 365 days a year when the host is present

When the host is not present, a limit for hosts to rent out properties via short-term holiday letting of 180 days in Greater Sydney, with 365 days allowed in all other areas of NSW

Councils outside Greater Sydney have the power to decrease the 365-day threshold to no lower than 180 days a year

Certain planning rules will apply to properties on bushfire-prone land.

For Ms Wells, the 180-night minimum is more than enough for the average short-term rental host.

"If the person charges $150 a night, that is at least 40 nights per year," she said.

"For the average host the 180 nights would be wonderful. Those of us who are hosts in our own homes, that's four times what we are getting on average now.

"It's only the people who have the investment properties that want their return on investment money, they want it to be 365 days."

When the short-term holiday rental came before Clarence Valley Council in October last year, Ms Wells expressed concern over how the short-term holiday rental would be dealt with by the government.

"The best way would be to have one policy for the investor and one for the home-based host," she said.

"The legislation supports what I said."

Ms Wells said for places like Yamba, where there were higher capacity rates, the rules around strata buildings would make it more fair for people.

"My understanding (of the policy) is that ... unoccupied units cannot be used as short-term rentals, however a person occupying their own unit can choose to have a short-term rental person living with them," she said.

Ms Wells added there had been talk of chief bodies having access to short-term holiday rental data from major sites like Airbnb and HomeStays but she believed it should be a two-way street.

"Hosts should have access to those government departments who are making sure the rules are being followed," she said.

HomeAway (formerly Stayz) director of corporate affairs Eacham Curry said short-term rental accommodation was not only an important driver of economic growth and jobs for the Clarence Valley but it also added crucial tourism accommodation capacity to the region.

"We will be working with local councils across the Clarence Valley region to ensure that short-term rental accommodation remains an important part of the tourism accommodation mix," he said.

"We will be making the case to all local councils outside of Sydney that they grasp the opportunity of the sector and not set an arbitrary cap on short-term rental accommodation."

Now it is up to Clarence Valley Council to make their decision about the policy.

Residents flock to watch wild waves

premium_icon Residents flock to watch wild waves

The BoM have issued a warning for large seas and high winds

BIG SURF: Take a look at our waves from Cyclone Oma

premium_icon BIG SURF: Take a look at our waves from Cyclone Oma

Waves batter the Yamba coastline in these photos