Short-term rentals provide economic boost

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Pamela Wells, the owner of Fairlight Cottage in Seelands, has been using Airbnb and Stayz to bring in business to her B&B.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Pamela Wells, the owner of Fairlight Cottage in Seelands, has been using Airbnb and Stayz to bring in business to her B&B. Caitlan Charles

PAMELA Wells always loved staying in B&Bs. So when she had the opportunity she opened her own, the Fairlight Cottage.

For about two years, Ms Wells has listed a cottage on her property in Seelands on Airbnb and Stayz, receiving many visitors from overseas and Australians looking to see the country.

"The international guests just keep coming and coming, and I think it's because it's different from going to a hotel," she said.

"The most frequent comment from people is 'I wish I'd booked for longer'," she said.

With magnificent views of the Clarence River and lots of space to enjoy a relaxing getaway, Ms Wells' property has had almost no issues with bad guests.

"I've been on Airbnb since I started and last year I went onto Stayz ... I've been very blessed with everyone who has come," she said.

"They've chosen this for a reason, it's very obvious that it's out in the boon docks ... one family wasn't right - it's not that they did bad things, they just didn't match the place.

"I can understand in big cities where people are using investment properties to (earn money).

"They can earn more on an online site than they can by renting their house out by the night than the month.

"I wouldn't have had the international guests and I've got repeat repeat international guests that come here from China at Christmas time.

"Those people would never have come to the Clarence Valley without that kind of exposure."

Clarence Valley Council recently decided to wait for the NSW Government to determine the rules and regulations for short-term rentals.

Ms Wells said she was pleased the council had decided to defer the decision to the NSW Government as it could have left Clarence Valley short-term lets in limbo with two sets of rules to follow.

"I'm not against rules and regulations, but we'd have to serve two masters," she said.

"We'd probably have to comply with both and then it would be awkward, because I imagine because we already had our Valley regulations, if there were a state-wide set of rules, they'd apply to everyone.

"I know there are some people who are doing it like a business ... but I'm not, and I don't think half the people in the Valley are, they're doing it for a little extra money, company and experience."

Ms Wells said more thought needs to go into how short-term stays are regulated.

"Maybe there needs to be a classification, that if it's unattended and run by an agency, it has to have certain rules, if it's a host-based home that could have a different set of rules," she said.

"Because if you start regulating people's own homes, that's a problem."

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