Byron Shire Council has released a new draft Planning Proposal that aims to return some housing to the long-term rental market by slashing some annual holiday rental limits in half.
Council says the proposal will also allow for a diverse range of tourist accommodation to operate year-round in key holiday rental zones.
If adopted, the Planning Proposal would reduce the current number of days a property can be holiday-let across most of the Byron Shire from 180 days per year to 90 days per year.
Exceptions to this are proposed to include four mapped precincts in parts of Byron Bay (East and West), Suffolk Park and Brunswick Heads where short-term rental would be permitted 365-days per year, the Council said in a statement.
Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon said Council had been working on the proposal for several years and had recently received a green light to proceed to public exhibition from the NSW Government.
“The NSW Government has given Council a special opportunity to respond to our housing crisis, given the unique challenges faced by our Shire and we are grateful for it,” Mayor Lyon said.
“The Economic Impact Analysis, commissioned by the NSW Government, showed clearly that allowing 90-day caps will return the largest amount of properties to the long-term rental market.
“I acknowledge that we need to also support our important visitor economy at the same time and that is why we’re proposing that a number of precincts retain the ability to offer short term rental accommodation for 365 days a year.
“Not that long ago, holiday letting was a relatively low-key industry made up of holiday houses and apartments that were let out for just part of the year in most parts of the Byron Shire.
“The region’s popularity coupled with the emergence of online accommodation and high rental yield potential has changed the landscape entirely with large percentages of our housing stock now unavailable for long-term renters.
“This is a wicked problem that many popular tourist destinations all over the world are now grappling with.
“We have an evidence-based solution in front of us and we want to take action so that our community can find housing within our Shire,” the Mayor said.
If the community supports the planning proposal and the changes come into effect, there will be a 12-month transition period for operators to honour existing bookings.
The Short-Term-Rental (STRA) Planning Proposal is open for comments and submissions until 31 October on Council’s website.