Short-term rentals check checklist

TheWestern Australian property market is experiencing a rental shortage, so theresnever been a better time for owner occupiers to get extra cash by offering yourspare room or investment home for short-term renting. Before you list, heres ahandy checklist to make the process easy.

Pick your platform

The mostpopular online booking platforms are Airbnb, Stayz, HomeAway and FlipKey, but its good to do your ownresearch to find the short-stay accommodation provider thats the best fit. Gothrough all the terms and conditions to learn about the fees, features and fineprint. You can host renters, by having them live in your home, or give guestsexclusive use of your house or unit.

Call your local council

The StateGovernment is looking into the regulation of short-term renting in WA and willbe introducing a new low cost, flexible registration scheme in future.Currently the rules are made by local councils, but there are big variations, souse this local government finder to find out:

  • ifyou need a council application, planning permit or registration
  • whatminimum stay period or limits on renters apply
  • ifsafety and signage requirements are needed
  • aboutamenities such as parking and rubbish collection, pet restrictions, noise limitsand anti-social behaviour policies
  • whatrules might apply to a strata property, as some are not allowed to be used asshort-term rentals.

Safety first

Its a great idea to put emergency procedures in place incase of bushfire, cyclone or other disasters. A communications plan is helpfulto keep people informed during emergencies, especially travellers who may notbe familiar with the area, remembering that English might not be their firstlanguage.

Takingcare to make sure furniture and fixtures are safe is also important in caringfor your guests. Securing items that might pose a toppling hazard, fencingpools and checking blinds and curtains are a few ways you can accident-proofyour property.

Are youcovered?

Someonline booking platforms offer insurance, so check what the insurance actuallycovers first. Your standard home or landlords insurance may not provide coverfor theft, damage or public liability – the Insurance Council of Australia has a great tool for findingshort-term holiday renting policies.

Any extraincome needs to be declared in your tax return, so contact the AustralianTax Office regardingwhat records to keep – you may also be able to claim some deductions, so askabout what youre entitled to.

What you see, is what you get

If youreleasing out a room or property regularly, it might surprise you to know youreconsidered a trader under the Australian Consumer Law.

This meansthat guests are your consumers, and its important to be honest and accuratewith how you offer your renting experience. Make sure any advertising iscorrect and gives a true overall impression of what to expect. Its best toinclude all relevant details and information.

Advice for home buyers and sellers

If yourebuying a property and would like to turn it into a short-term rental, ask if itis currently, or has in the past, been used in this way and what approvals havealready been met. It is prudent to contact the local government authority todetermine their requirements. And if selling a property used as a short-termrental, ask the agent to include this point in the marketing, as it may be adrawcard for some buyers.

Get more information

Visit the ConsumerProtection website which has more short-term rental information.

To find out about the plannedregistration scheme for short-term rentals in WA, visitthe Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website.

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