In response the 2019 Parliamentary inquiry Levelling the Playing Field: Managing the impact of the rapid increase of short-term rentals in Western Australia the State Government has committed to various initiatives to deliver better regulation of the short-term rental accommodation sector, including the:
- development of a draft position statement for tourism, to update definitions for short-term rental accommodation and provide greater guidance for local governments to prepare their local planning strategy and scheme; and
- investigation of a registration scheme for short-term rental accommodation providers.
The Position Statement: Planning for Tourism (Position Statement) and registration scheme will provide for improved regulation; support residents living in tourist communities and help create greater uniformity in how the short-term rental accommodation sector is managed throughout Western Australia.
The draft Position Statement was advertised for public consultation between December 2021 and March 2022. Feedback was also sought on the proposals for a state-wide registration scheme.
Under the proposals, short-term rental accommodation hosts do not need development approval if they let out their residence for 60 days or less per year.
Local governments would continue to be responsible for establishing and managing any planning and regulatory requirements for short-term rentals over 60 days, subject to their local planning schemes. This discretion of local governments in regulating short-term rental accommodation in their area facilitates flexible responses to local conditions and the wishes of communities.
The Position Statement includes a definition for ‘hosted’ accommodation, which is exempt from development approval where the person who lives in the dwelling is present when guests are staying.
A Final Position Statement which will consider informed feedback received through the public consultation is expected to be considered by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC), in mid-2023.
To support implementation of these development exemptions, amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Scheme) Regulations 2015 will be progressed. This is expected to occur concurrently with the development of the operational framework for the registration scheme in the second half of 2023.
It is anticipated that the registration scheme and development exemptions will be fully operational some time in 2024.
Draft Position Statement: Planning for Tourism and guidelines
The draft Position Statement aims to provide clear and consistent guidance on the definition and treatment of short-term rental accommodation to:
- complement existing local planning frameworks;
- encourage a consistent approach to managing and regulating short-term rental accommodation amongst local governments; and
- provide greater clarity for short-term rental accommodation providers and the broader community.
View the relevant documents here:
For any questions related to the draft Position Statement or changes to the planning system, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short-term rental accommodation registration scheme
The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries led the initial investigation into support for a registration scheme for the short-term rental accommodation sector, with public consultation in 2022 confirming broad community and industry backing for the proposal.
Consumer Protection WA, within the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, is now responsible for undertaking further consultation to develop the state-wide registration scheme and draft the legislation for implementation.
More information about the registration scheme is available at Consumer Protection WA’s website.
Queries about the registration scheme should be directed to Consumer Protection WA at email@example.com.
What is short-term rental accommodation?
Short-term rental accommodation is the common name given to holiday homes, units or apartments offered for short-term renting, usually through an online booking platform or management agency. These places are usually built for residential purposes in residential areas.
Short-term rentals can be either hosted (where the host lives onsite to manage any issues with guests) or unhosted (where guests have full use of a property, without the owner living on site).
The use of short-term rental accommodation is a long-standing tradition for Western Australian families, especially over the summer and school holiday periods. Commonly, they can be:
- a family holiday home;
- a property purchased solely for the purpose of short-term renting; and
- residents looking to let spare bedrooms, sections of the house or ancillary accommodation on a short-term basis.
How is short-term rental accommodation currently regulated and managed?
Local governments are responsible for establishing and managing any planning and regulatory requirements for short-term rental accommodation in their area. This discretion facilitates flexible responses to local conditions and the wishes of communities.
There are a range of existing obligations that short-term rental operators may be subject to or should consider. For further information please refer to the Consumer Protection WA website.
Landgate has also prepared information for strata owners, which is available in the Guide to Strata Titles on their website.
How will things change once the new position statement and registration scheme are introduced?
The existing role and responsibility of local government to regulate short-term rental accommodation will remain essential.
The proposed initiatives will complement existing local planning frameworks and provide greater clarity for short-term rental providers and the broader community.
The new Position Statement will help ensure consistency in the way short-term rentals are treated in the planning system throughout the State. This is largely achieved through changes to the new and amended model and deemed definitions being proposed in local planning schemes.
The Department is responsible for delivering the changes to the planning system to implement the development exemptions outlined in the Position Statement.
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 online booking platforms.
Consumer Protection WA is responsible for developing and operating the registration scheme.
Work on the planning system changes and the registration scheme is being progressed concurrently.
What are the next steps?
The Department is assessing the feedback from the public consultation, to develop a final Position Statement to be approved by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). It is expected that this will occur in mid-2023.
To support implementation of these development exemptions, the Department will progress amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Scheme) Regulations 2015. This is expected to occur concurrently with the development of the operational framework for the registration scheme in the second half of 2023.
Consumer Protection WA will undertake further consultation to develop the registration scheme and draft the legislation for implementation.
It is anticipated that the registration scheme and development exemptions will be fully operational sometime in 2024.
Please note: If state-wide development exemptions are introduced, then further advice when they will come into effect will be provided to communities, local government and industry.
Until this time, the current requirements in place by the respective local government authority continues to apply, including applying for development approval.
Contact your local government to find out what approvals and requirements may be required to operate short -term rental accommodation in your area.
Until these changes are made, local governments are encouraged to adopt the definitions in the draft Position Statement.