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Airbnb rentals in Byron Bay will soon be much harder to find

A new government decision restricting short-term rentals will make hotels more appealing for holidaymakers visiting the Northern NSW hotspot.

Byron Bay is one of NSW's most popular holiday destinations.

Owners of non-hosted short-term holiday rentals in Byron Bay and the surrounding shire will soon be bound to a tighter annual cap in the number of nights they will legally be allowed to rent their properties.

Following a recommendation from the NSW Independent Planning Commission, the NSW Government will tighten the existing cap by a third, from 180 days to 60 days per year each property can be rented by the night.

The move follows a planning submission by the Byron Shire Council to make more homes available to longer-term residential leases, aimed at lowering property prices in the area for buyers and making rentals more affordable and attainable to tenants.

However, some rental properties in high-traffic tourist zones near beaches and services will be permitted to operate without a cap and will remain available for year-round use.

The decision will make hotels the more appealing and available option for visitors.

The new rules also do not apply to fully hosted short-term rentals, where the property owner resides on the premises during the stay.

Byron Shire Council has moved to act in response to local population growth and new housing precincts being snapped up by investors not living in the area intending to put these properties on short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb, Stayz and others. This has resulted in a tight housing supply and high prices for residents looking to legitimately move to the area.

Along with Greater Sydney, Byron is one of several local government areas in Northern NSW which has nominated itself to be bound by the NSW Government’s 180-day cap on non-hosted short-term rentals, with Ballina, Muswellbrook and parts of the Clarence Valley also choosing to be bound by the limit to maintain reasonable housing affordability levels.

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, said short-term rentals in Byron Shire is a complex matter affecting the local housing market.

"Given the region’s unique and exceptional circumstances as one of Australia's most visited tourism destinations, it is crucial housing supply shortages are addressed and more homes are returned for permanent residency, particularly to have workers in the visitor economy,” Minister Scully said.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 26 September 2023

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