Coffs Coast beaches are just one of many reasons that visitors choose to holiday in this region.
Coffs Coast beaches are just one of many reasons that visitors choose to holiday in this region.

Major player urges Council not to impose holiday cap

AS Coffs Harbour City Council considers its options on capping short term rental accommodation, a major holiday rental website has entered the debate.

Holiday rental website, Stayz, has urged Council to retain the 365-day threshold for holiday rentals.

Last year the NSW Government introduced planning reforms that allowed regional councils to develop a local response on the issue. This boiled down to an options paper which considers the imposition of a cap on short-term rental accommodation in the area.

Stayz Corporate Affairs Director, Eacham Curry says Council is correct to ask for community feedback but should ultimately vote for the tourism sector by ensuring that short-term rental accommodation can operate year-round.

"Stayz understands the desire for action by local governments, however night caps will fail to resolve the most commonly cited questions about holiday rental accommodation," Mr Curry said.

"As the NSW Government continues the delicate task of reopening the economy in a Covid-safe way, Stayz believes that short-term rentals have a key role to play in the Mid-North Coast's economic recovery and now is not the time to put this opportunity at risk with restrictions that put at risk that recovery."

Holiday makers enjoy Northwall Beach at Coffs Harbour.
Holiday makers enjoy Northwall Beach at Coffs Harbour.

Mr Curry says night caps and other use restrictions for holiday rentals not only put the economic uplift associated with the tourism sector at risk, but also fail to address the four most consistently raised questions about the industry: housing affordability, housing availability, the impact on government resources and service provision, and finally, impact on neighbourhood amenity.

Stayz advocates for statewide regulation that contains a simple certification scheme for all short-term rental listings, a code of conduct that is backed by a strikes-based disciplinary regimen, and consistent planning rules for the breadth of the industry.

"We support Coffs Harbour City Council in their desire to get better certainty about the rules for short term rentals but urge them to wait until NSW Government introduces its register for short-term rentals and let the data that is collected point to solutions that will address the key concerns of locals," Mr Curry concluded.

State-wide policy recommendations

Stayz's key statewide policy recommendations for the NSW Government are:

- A statewide code of conduct to govern amenity issues, including the behaviour of both guests and owners/managers of short-term rentals;

- A government administered certification and enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with the code of conduct (this could take the form of a simple register);

- State-wide planning rules that cater for the breadth of the short-term rental industry, taking account of short-term rentals in both urban and regional centres; and

- State-wide compliance standards for short-term rental properties.

Have your say on options paper

The Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) Issues and Options Paper is now on public exhibition and the community is invited to have their say here.

The paper outlines two options moving forward:

1 - Retain the proposed 365 day threshold for non-hosted STRA across the whole Coffs Harbour LGA,

2 - Reduce the day threshold for non-hosted STRA from 365 days to no less than 180 days either: across the whole LGA, or in specific localities only.

The options paper is part of Council's latest chapter of their draft Coffs Harbour City Council's Local Growth Management Strategy (LGMS) - Chapter 7 Residential Lands.

The chapter is on public exhibition from now until July 31.