Holiday rental websites fear a proposed 90-night limit on holiday letting in Byron Bay could set a dangerous precedent for high tourist areas like the South Coast.
Earlier this week, Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said that if re-elected a Liberal-National government would introduce caps of 180 days per calendar year to apply when the host is not present in short-term holiday rental properties in metropolitan Sydney and some regional areas.
He also promised the Byron Shire community he would grant a 90-day annual limit on the short-term letting of empty properties in the area.
"I am satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances in Byron Shire and have decided to issue a Ministerial Direction which invites Byron Shire to lead the way by proposing 90 day thresholds in the most impacted towns of the LGA," he said.
Despite Shoalhaven City Council resolving it would not impose a 180-day cap on the region's holiday rentals, holiday platform Stayz worried the NSW government could also implement these "restrictive caps" in other areas.
Mr Curry said imposing caps on holiday rentals could have a severe impact on families who use short-term holiday letting as source of income, while also knocking off millions of dollars from the local economy.
Based on Stayz analysis of 2017/18 economic modelling by ACIL Allen Consulting, it's estimated 180-day night cap would result in a $31 million hit to the South Coast’s economy and put up to 167 local jobs at risk. While, a 90-day night cap would result in a $65 million hit to the South Coast’s economy and put up to 350 jobs in the region at risk.
Mr Curry said the three main concerns most full-time residents had in regards to short term holiday letting revolved around amenity and housing affordability and availability. But that Mr Roberts' changes did nothing to address this.
"Stayz is opposed to the introduction of arbitrary night limits because they fail to address these three key concerns," he said.
"A sensible and verifiable regulatory framework based on a robust Code of Conduct and informed by data collected through a register of holiday rental properties is the proven way to address such concerns."
Neighbours not Strangers is a NSW-based organisation that is pushing for stricter laws and regulations when it comes to short-term rentals in residential areas.
Spokesperson Trish Burt, on behalf of the Shoalhaven members, agreed night caps would not improve housing affordability or availability for Shoalhaven residents, but argued the industry needed stronger regulation to protect full-time residents and homeowners.
"Tourism is important to our economy and we support this industry," she said.
"That said, tourism must not be confused with nor override housing rights. Tourism is a discretionary spend while safe, secure and affordable housing is a fundamental right."
Ms Burt said the state government needed to ensure local governments are mandated to prevent "planning, zoning or approval to prevent the illegal short-term holiday letting of residential dwellings".
She argued the government's planned code of conduct would do little to restrict the industry, and instead the group has developed a number of suggestions for state consideration.
"Development Consent and the consent of neighbours sought and obtained [before a property can be listed as a short term rental]," she said.
"Commercial rates and taxes [should also] be paid on all areas of operations in accordance with those currently paid by accredited accommodation providers."
The group also suggests premises be staffed while guests are "in-house".
The group has made submissions to the government ahead of the release of its code of conduct, which is set to be released later in the year. The code will apply to anyone involved in providing or using short-term rental accommodation including hosts, guests, online booking platforms, and letting agents.
NSW became the first Australian state to regulate Airbnb-style letting last year, when it passed a suite of planning laws mandating a cap of 180 days for investment properties in greater Sydney.