New policy to guide management of short-term accommodation

  • ​State Government releases new draft planning policy for short-term rentals
  • Planning policy provides framework for managing short-term accommodation in WA
  • Development of planning policy is in response to 2019 Parliamentary inquiry
  • The draft planning policy is open to the public for comment
  • The State Government has today released a new draft planning policy, outlining proposed changes for how short-term rental accommodation will be managed in Western Australia.

    The Draft Position Statement: Planning for Tourism and Guidelines gives direction to local governments on managing short-term rental accommodation within their local planning framework.

    It provides updated definitions on the use of houses, units and apartments for short-term rental accommodation, and seeks comment on whether providers of unhosted and hosted accommodation should be exempt from requiring development approval in certain circumstances.

    The Position Statement includes a definition for ‘hosted’ accommodation, which is exempt from development approval where the person who lives in the house or dwelling is present when guests are staying.

    One of the proposals out for consultation includes a ‘cap on nights’ for unhosted accommodation, where dwellings rented out for a designated number of days per calendar year do not require development approval.

    Any premises used for more than the designated amount of days will be considered used for holidays and will require development approval, unless the local government chooses to extend this exemption via a change to its local planning scheme.

    The draft planning policy is part of the McGowan Government’s response to the recommendations of the 2019 Parliamentary inquiry ‘Levelling the Playing Field – Managing the impact of the rapid increase of Short-Term Rentals in Western Australia’.

    To support the changes, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is investigating the implementation of a new State-wide registration system.

    Under the proposed registration system, providers of short-term rental accommodation within Western Australia would be required to register their property to operate and advertise, including on online booking platforms. 

    Owners would receive a unique registration number, which would need to be advertised alongside the short-term rental.

    To have your say on the new planning policy visit https://consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au

    As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “There has been a rapid growth in short-term rental accommodation providers throughout WA.

    “Our Government is implementing initiatives to better manage the sector, to provide greater certainty to the tourism industry, accommodation providers and guests, and make sure property owners know what is expected of them.

    “We also want to ensure consistency across different local governments and help support them to better regulate and govern short-term accommodation providers within their area.

    “The draft position statement is now open for public comment and we are particularly interested to get the community’s thoughts on the proposed development approval exemptions for some forms of hosted and unhosted short-term rentals. I’d encourage everyone to go online and have your say.”

    As stated by Local Government Minister John Carey:

    “Developing a registration system that encompasses more than 130 local governments will be a complex process, which is why we need to make sure we take the time to get it right and thoroughly investigate how it would work.

    “While significant work is still required to understand how such a registration system would operate, it would help ensure owners are compliant with regulations.

    “Feedback on this public consultation will also help inform how a registration system may work, so I encourage anyone that has an interest in these reforms to jump online and have their say.”

    As stated by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Planning Jessica Stojkovski:

    “We want to hear from the community and industry about how we can best manage short term accommodation in Western Australia.

    “A lot of work has been undertaken since the initial Parliamentary Inquiry was released in 2019, and I am confident we have struck the right balance between providing clarity for accommodation providers and complementing existing local planning frameworks.

    “I encourage all interested parties to read through the position statement and have their say before consultation closes on March 7, 2022.” 

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