No cap on Tweed holiday letting despite housing crisis

The Tweed Mayor says it is now open slather for short-term holiday letting in her shire as new regulations covering the sector come into effect elsewhere this week.

Key points:New holiday letting caps are now in effect, but must be adopted by councilsTweed Council has voted against a cap now adopted by neighbouring shiresByron is seeking a stricter 90-day annual cap

The new state laws mean every home in regional New South Wales, outside Sydney, can be holiday let all year round unless council applies for a cap.

A limit of 180 days of holiday letting per year is now in place in Ballina and parts of the lower Clarence, while Byron is still seeking a stricter 90-day cap.

But Mayor Chris Cherry said her fellow Tweed shire councillors voted against a cap.

Profile photo of a woman.
Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry fears it will now be "open slather" for short-term holiday letting in the shire.(Supplied: Tweed Shire Council)

She said the new state rules would override existing council planning restrictions which had set out where holiday letting was allowed.

"They didn't allow it [holiday letting] in low-density residential, the zoning which is on most of our towns and villages outside the main thoroughfares," Cr Cherry said.

"So it's a lot of area that was going to be impacted.

"We've basically now got open slather."

Cr Cherry said caps on holiday letting were designed to make more long-term rentals available in a region that is in the grip of a housing crisis. 

She said with no cap and more areas of the Tweed now eligible for short-term letting, a free reign for property owners could have the opposite effect.

"It is a massive issue for us here in terms of not having any available rentals for our key workers," Cr Cherry said.

"If we start to see a lot of tenants being told to vacate because the owners want to use them for short-term holiday let, then obviously I will try again." 

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LoadingCompliance costs spook councillors 

Tweed councillor James Owen said the cost of enforcing a cap was not something the council could afford.

"If it's only 180 days a year we need to have staff that are out there checking and they're already very busy doing other things," Cr Owen said.

"I think compliance is the main thing, but equally we can't control the market.

"If people want to put their houses out there for short-term letting then so be it.

"I don't think [a cap] is the answer to more affordable housing in the Tweed."

'Make it as unattractive as possible'

Homeless people in front of a graffitied wall.
Byron Bay has the highest rates of homelessness, outside of Sydney, in New South Wales.(ABC North Coast: Hannah Ross)

In the adjoining Byron Shire, the council is seeking permission from the NSW Government to cap short-term holiday lets to 90 days per year.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Ndiaye said the aim of the strategy was to "make it as unattractive as possible" for investors looking to cash in on the holiday letting market.

"If there are some pressures on short-term holiday rentals I can live with that," she said.

"Because I think the devastation that's come from having over half our available rental stock available year round is just too big a price to pay.

"I just think it's great to have a cross section of our community that can still live here and make up the wonderful community that we know and love."

Posted 3 Nov 20213 Nov 2021Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 1:26am, updated 3 Nov 20213 Nov 2021Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 1:45amShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp

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