The Cook Government has today announced new regulations for un-hosted Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) in Western Australia, along with an incentive aimed at returning some properties to the long-term rental market to help increase housing supply.
The reforms, which strike a balance between better regulation of STRA throughout WA and the rights of individual property owners, will:
- Establish a State-wide register for all short-term rental accommodation properties;
- Mandate registration of all STRA properties and introduce planning requirements for STRA properties in the Perth metropolitan area, including the need for planning approval for un-hosted STRA properties; and
- Introduce a STRA incentive scheme, to be on offer for six months, to encourage property owners to return their STRA properties to the long-term rental market.
These reforms also respond to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Short-Stay Accommodation, which recommended the establishment of a State-wide registration scheme and updates to planning guidance for STRA properties.
Property owners will be required to register all STRA properties in WA before being able to advertise and take bookings, including on online booking platforms.
Registrations are expected to open mid-2024 and all STRA properties, including those that do not require planning approval (such as hosted STRA properties), will need to be registered by 1 January 2025. STRA property owners that are already required to have development approval must provide their development approval number at registration, or by 1 January 2026 if subject to the new planning requirements, to remain on the register.
Planning requirements in the Perth metropolitan area will be changed, with approval required from the local government for un-hosted STRA that operate for more than 90 nights. In regional areas, including the Peel region, local governments will determine when planning approval is required.
Further guidance will be provided to local governments on STRA land uses in their planning schemes and frameworks. The reforms do not propose any limitations on the number of nights a hosted or un-hosted STRA property can be rented for.
In the Perth metropolitan area, un-hosted STRA property owners will be exempt from having to obtain development approval if the property is not rented for more than 90 nights in a 12-month period. If an un-hosted STRA will be rented more than 90 nights (inclusive) in a 12-month period, the property owner must seek planning approval from their local government.
All local governments will be expected to amend their local planning schemes to implement the policy changes and be able to issue development approvals by 1 January 2026, if required.
As part of the Cook Government's ongoing efforts to boost housing supply and affordability, a new STRA Incentive Scheme will be in place for six months to encourage property owners to transition short-stay rentals into long-term rental properties now.
The scheme offers a $10,000 payment to property owners willing to switch their STRA properties to the long-term rental market.
To qualify for the $10,000 STRA Incentive Scheme payment, you must have already had an entire property for rent on short-stay booking platforms, such as Airbnb or Stayz, within the past six weeks. Applicants will be required to provide a minimum 12-month lease agreement to new, long-term tenants through the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
To protect tenants and ensure the new homes are affordable, a maximum rent chargeable by location (region) will apply. This includes a maximum rent of $800 per week in Perth (including Mandurah) and $650 in the South West. The maximum rent chargeable by location allows room for property owners to charge rents that reflect the conditions for where their property is located.
There will be a two-stage payment process that consists of a $4,000 payment once eligible applications are approved, and a $6,000 payment after the long-term tenancy rental agreement reaches 12 months. STRA property owners can now submit a simple Expression of Interest (EOI) online, with the formal application process expected to begin by the end of 2023.
Further information, including frequently asked questions about the STRA Incentive Scheme, including maximum rent chargeable by location, development planning approval reforms and the STRA Register, can be found on the STRA Initiatives web page.