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Code of Conduct for Short-term Rental Accommodation – More regulations for Airbnbs?

NSW Fair Trading has introduced the Code of Conduct for Short-term Rental Accommodation to cover the commercial letting of residences up to 3 months at a time, mainly covering holiday letting and Airbnbs. The Code of Conduct will be in effect from 1 June 2021 onwards, affecting all parties involved in these short-term rental arrangements.

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, many Australians are choosing to travel domestically to scratch the itch to travel. This has brought an influx of visitors to rural destinations and boosting demands for short term letting. When the travel restrictions are removed, there will also be increased amounts of visitors from all over the world travelling to Australia for leisure.

The Code of Conduct to protects both Guests and Hosts in these short-term rental agreements. With the extra protection, Guests feel safer to travel to different places while Hosts will be more confident in hosting their properties, kickstarting economic activity within the tourism sector.

 

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We have condensed the additional requirements for Hosts and Guests below:

Hosts

  1. Hosts must now register themselves and the premises on the premises register, and display the registration number on the booking platform.
  2. Premises must be consistent with the representations made on the advertisements.
  3. Hosts must have insurance to cover liability for third party injuries and death.
  4. Hosts or their representative must give clear contact details and be readily contactable.
  5. Hosts must give inform Strata or the Owners Corporation that they are engaging in short term letting and provide contact details.
  6. When contacted, the host must address any concerns raised in a timely manner.

Guests

  1. Must not engage criminal conduct, contravene by-laws, or the terms of the short-term rental accommodation.
  2. Must not create noise that would disrupt or interfere with the peace or comfort of neighbors and other occupants.
  3. Must not act in violent or threatening manner.
  4. Interfere with the use or enjoyment of common property by neighbors or other occupants.
  5. Must not intentionally, recklessly or negligently cause damage to private or public property.
  6. Must take reasonable care of the host’s premises and property.
  7. Must notify host or host’s representative of any disputes or complaints immediately.

 

Exclusion Register

The commissioner has the following powers when met with a complaint:

  1. Issue a warning notice.
  2. Issue a direction to impose conditions or restrictions on the property or the person.
  3. Record a strike against a host or guest; any guest or host that has received two strikes within 2 years will be added to the exclusion register.
  4. Record a host or guest on the exclusion register.

Any hosts or guests on the exclusion register will be unable to participate in short term letting for 5 years.

 

Conclusion

With the recent pandemic, many Australians have been trapped at home for months and the gradual release of restrictions will increase the level of domestic tourism. If you are thinking of becoming a host, or planning to travel as a guest, you will need to be aware of the new Code of Conduct. If you encounter any disputes under the Code of Conduct, or would like to enquire more about short-term letting, please contact us at vincent.hui@sunlaws.com or 02 9267 4988 at any time.

 

Homebuilder Grant: A Quick Guide to Building Contracts and frequently asked questions

The Federal Government recently announced the Homebuilder scheme, offering $25k cash grant to all eligible Australians who wish to build new homes. While the chance to design and build your own house is attractive, the thought of building a home from scratch may seem like a daunting task to most people.

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There are three main ways homeowners may choose to build their own property:

  1. Purchasing a House and Land Package;
  2. Demolishing an existing house and building a new property; and
  3. Building on vacant land.

A land and build package will allow you to purchase a plot of land from a vendor who will also manage the future construction of your house. This package offers you the peace of mind as the vendor will manage and ensure that your home is built on time, with no additional cost.  Land and build packages have the advantage of additional stamp duty savings, while also allowing you the flexibility to choose your property design.

Alternatively, if you wish to design a house from scratch, you can engage a builder to assist you after you have purchased a plot of land.

 


 

We have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions for your consideration.

 

  1. What happens if the builder fails to complete on the date of completion?

Builders are liable to pay liquidated damages for each day after the intended date of completion. However, Builders usually account for any possible delays in constructions and provide a buffer between their estimated completion date and the date of completion.

 

  1. Can the builder use different materials without telling me?

No, the builder must give you a written notice asking for a variation of materials, your written and signed consent is needed. You may reject the variation but must not unreasonably withhold consent especially if the variation request is made in accordance with legislative building requirements.

 

  1. What happens if I find out that the property is inhabitable after moving in?

There are various statutory warranties that are implied into the building contract, warranting that the property is fit for occupation at completion. You may seek an order to rectify any defects in your property for no cost if the defect occurs within the warranty period. For NSW, the warranty period is 6 years after the date of completion.

 

  1. Do I have to pay the full price of the building contract upfront before construction commences?

No, you are not required to pay the full amount upfront. Builders are only permitted to request for progress payments, which are partial payments made at different stages of the construction process, reflecting the work completed up until the point of invoicing.

 

  1. What if the building is different from the plans provided?

If the building on completion is different from the plans initially agreed on, you can lodge a complaint with the respective state tribunals. Each complaint will be assessed on its own merit and evidence provided. If successful, the court may order the builder to pay compensation or rectifications at no cost.

 

If you have any questions regarding a build contract or property, do not hesitate to contact us at any time at 02 9267 4988 or Vincent.hui@sunlaws.com

LATEST: First Home Owner stamp duty assistance threshold increased to $800,000 in NSW!

The NSW Government has announced that the threshold for the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme will be increased from $650,000 to $800,000!  From the 1st of August, the increased threshold will come into effect for a limited time of a year only. The announcement comes hot on the heels of the Homebuilder Scheme introduced by the Federal Government, helping local Australians purchase homes and encouraging economic activity through the property sector.

The following table sets out the change in the FHBAS according to the announcement:

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According to the current information, there is no change in the eligibility criteria for the first home buyer. However, only new properties are eligible for the increased threshold.

Besides the stamp duty concession, First Home Owners can also obtain the $10,000 from the First home owner grant, and an additional $25,000 if they are eligible for the Homebuilder Scheme, saving up to a total of $55,000!

The NSW Government estimates that 6000 first home buyers will benefit from the scheme, saving thousands of dollars in achieving the significant milestone of purchasing their first property. In addition, the property and building sector will receive much needed boost in demand, creating more opportunities and economic activity.

 

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To invest or not to invest?

COVID-19 has deeply impacted the worldwide economy, bringing great uncertainty to the Australian property market. The Australian government has invested over 2 billion dollars to provide both JobKeeper and JobSeeker support for Australians and to stimulate the economy. To prevent losses due to inflation and fluctuations in the Australian dollar, properties are still prime investment options to protect and grow your finances.

With the dropping interest rates, mortgage interest rates have also decreased, meaning purchasers may borrow money at a lower cost than before. In addition, the National House Price Index have been dropping all over Australia, with home values reducing by 0.8% in Sydney. With all the support provided by the government, this may be the perfect chance for a first home buyer to purchase their first home with unprecedented discounts.

If you have any further queries regarding the purchase of properties, do not hesitate to contact us at 02 9267 4988 or Vincent.hui@sunlaws.com.

 

Related Articles:

Ready to buy your first home? Take advantage of the Homebuilder Scheme and First Home subsidies to save on your new property!
A Quick Guide To COVID-19 Land Tax Support in Australia
Nsw Covid-19 Residential Tenancy Amendments