Rita Saffioti says protocols have to be in place to support traditional accommodation providers. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

WA to regulate short-stay accommodation

UPDATED: The state government has said it will adopt most of the recommendations arising from a parliamentary inquiry into short-term accommodation, with Tourism Council WA and the Australian Hotels Association WA welcoming the pledge to apply more stringent regulation to the sector.


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As a fully registered and tourism business accredited single Airbnb operator I fully recommend the proposals. When Busselton-Margaret River Shire introduced registration in 2012, requiring planning change-of-use permissions, I was concerned initially about the practicality of some of their recommendations in regard to noise management provisions and the strikes rule. In particular, the registration only covered homes let commercially (Class 1B) not to friends and families, which happens a lot in WA. Thankfully practical sense was taken so that the requirements are now clear, although compliance is still not properly managed in my view and houses are often on Airbnb in the shire but are not registered. As an owner who has done the right thing, at significant cost and time I might add, that is disappointing. The risk here is health and safety. Interesting it is only the tourism accreditation that requires us to have full appropriate insurances, not the shire registration (this needs to change), as are the compliance requirements around gas certification for appliances and fire safety requirements for class 1B buildings. The consequences of the NSW requirements for Airbnb-let apartments will be interesting as they incorporate the learnings from multiple fire safety incidents and will require compliance with strata (no BBQs on balconies as one example) but will also require lights in hallways, smoke detectors and evacuation plans in all rooms etc. The timeframe to compliance will be interesting: as it will taken 12-24 months for all to be compliant and the hotels association will push for earlier dates only to try to affect demand for their product. In japan, where restrictions on Airbnbs were placed almost overnight there was an immediate drop of almost 80 per cent available properties. What also happens to existing bookings? Airbnb cancellation fees are excessive for both parties. As a superhost, for example, on Airbnb I lose that status for 12 months immediately should I cancel a booking (plus I am charged fees for that booking). Anyhow, this is an interesting development, one which I welcome to level the playing the field across the short-term let sector.

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