Sydney strata rules not fair in the Hunter, says Stayz

SHORT-TERM GAIN: Brooke Brugnoni and her husband Grant Maule have listed their purpose-built Cooks Hill Parkside property with Stayz and Airbnb since December. Picture: Jonathan CarrollSTAYZ, one of the Hunter’stwomain home rental websites, hasresponded toproposed tighter rules aroundholiday letting by calling forall short-term rentals to be registered and for a “three strikes” rule to block bad hosts.


The company also says properties in“regional areas” shouldbe exempt from strata regulations designedto curb guests’ behaviourin properties in Sydney.

In its responseto an options paper before the NSWgovernment, Stayz proposed new “safety, amenity and property management” standards for listing a rental property on an online platform, a new industry body, and “improved communication” with the government.

“Our recommendations strike a sensible balance between improving the short-term rental accommodation sector and ensuring it remains an important source of regional jobs, tourist activity and economic uplift,” former federal tourism minister andStayzadviser Richard Colbeck said.

“Holiday homes have been a tradition in Australia for decades and it is simply not fair to lump extra regulation and financial burdens on holidaymakers to solve a problem that mainly exists in city and metropolitan areas.”

The options paper was released in July following a parliamentary inquiry into the industry,and raisesthe prospectthatHunter hosts onStayz and its rival Airbnb could be limited in howoften they let their properties, and beforced to pay strata fees.

Hosts could also be forced to reimburseneighbours fordisruptiveguests under the government’sproposals.

But Stayz’s Mr Colbeck said the government’s options paper failed to properly distinguish “between someone renting out a beach holiday home” and someone renting out a room in an already-leased property ina city strata apartment.

Brooke Brugnoni and her husband Grant Maule have listed their purpose-built Cooks Hill Parkside property on Stayz since December. It was one of 12 properties the website listed in Cooks Hill on Thursday night. They also list it on Airbnb.

Guests have stayed, Ms Brugnoni said, for reasons ranging from holidays to family visits to attending an ice hockey camp.

The couple haven’t had any problems with guests, she said, largely because they make their expectations knownand becauseof the inherentaccountability ofthe Stayz platform.

“You can screen your guests to a certain extent before they arrive. I think as a host you have to be proactive,” Ms Brugnoni said.

“As a business owner, why would you want to put up a bad service?”

The government has made the options paper available to the public for three months while it decides how to regulate the $31 billion industry.