Short-stay changes target growing housing crisis

Hobart City Council will consider taking steps to limit the number of new permits to convert entire homes to short-stay visitor accommodation in an attempt to address housing affordability and rental property supply in the Tasmanian capital.

A University of Tasmania 2019 report on balancing housing needs with the rise of short-stay accommodation, provided background on the current status of short-stay and long-term rental markets in Tasmania, examples of regulations in other cities, and the required steps to amend the planning scheme.

According to recent reporting by short-stay accommodation providers to the state government, of 971 total listings in the Hobart local government area 335 are not the host’s primary residence.

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Helen Burnet said the growing number of vacant homes converted to visitor accommodation was concerning.
“We know housing affordability in Hobart is reaching crisis point and we have a responsibility to look at actions that could help address this.

“A study has recently found that Hobart had lost around 12 percent of its long-term rental properties to visitor accommodation in just a couple of years.

“The recommendations to be considered by Council look at limiting the amount of self-contained, unhosted, entire-home listings in certain parts of our city as a means to reduce the loss of long-term rental properties. It builds on an existing policy for Battery Point.”

The proposed actions would not impact existing permit holders, or those intending to let part of their home or an ancillary dwelling on their property such as a granny flat.

Any changes to the planning scheme would need to be approved by the Tasmanian Planning Commission prior to implementation.

The City Planning Committee recommendations include: prohibiting new permits for entire home short stay accommodation within the Hobart Local Government Area, advocating for state wide regulations, similar to those in New South Wales, that would enable councils to make decisions about properties within their local government area, and supporting the establishment of a ‘Housing Supply Forecasting Council’ to research, analyse and inform policy around short
stay accommodation.