Yarra Ranges Council continues to support calls for short-term rental regulation

Yarra Ranges Council want Victoria to take a leading role in addressing the issues with short term rentals. (On File, 399827)

By Callum Ludwig

Yarra Ranges Council has issued a statement on the management of short-term rental accommodation (STRA) and the impact it has on the region.

Yarra Ranges Council has previously called for action and also recently confirmed Warburton’s exceptionally low housing supply to community land trust advocacy group Grounded for the ‘Airbnb: from a housing problem to solution’ report.

A Yarra Ranges Council spokesperson said the Yarra Ranges is one of the most visited regions in the state of Victoria for tourism, particularly in the Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley and Upper Yarra areas including Warburton and surrounds.

“However, with tourism, comes the issue of STRA which is a key challenge for Council. Council needs to ensure that we balance the opportunities for tourism, economic growth with other short-term rental requirements such as accommodation for farm workers as well as the need for available and affordable housing for permanent local communities,” they said.

“From an economic benefit our local economy – which boasts countless cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels, wineries, breweries and distilleries – relies heavily on this visitation, and we’re pleased to welcome overnight visitors to the region annually,”

“Council is working to better understand the impacts and scope of STRAs, on both local housing and economies, through the development of an issues paper.”

Yarra Ranges Council previously called on the Municipal Association of Victoria to lobby the State Government to create an STRA register in 2022.

The spokesperson said an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 could be one way to establish a state-wide register for STRA which would allow for consistent standards to be regulated across Victoria.

“Council is aware of the impact that the STRA market has on the provision of properties for long-term rental and is looking to the State government to consider how short stay accommodation could be regulated, particularly to ensure minimum standards and safety associated with rental properties, regardless of if they are rented for a short or long period of time,” they said.

“Council is monitoring developments in this space across the country and is keen for the state to take a leading role to ensure consistency.”

Statewide registration systems have already been implemented in New South Wales and Tasmania, with New South Wales in the midst of a six-month review of its framework.

The spokesperson said Council also recently released its 15-year Housing Strategy which highlights the need for diverse housing choices for all stages of life.

“Having access to housing choices that are well located, affordable, secure and safe, enables people to live with dignity, provides access to education and employment choices, and encourages participation in community life,” they said.

“Further, Council’s Advocacy Agenda and Housing Strategy, outlines actions for diverse housing choices and the issue of STRA with an aim to enhance regulatory and monitoring mechanisms, to allow our community to balance the economic benefits of tourism with their housing needs,”

“An increase in property values often accompanies a growth in tourism. This can have a knock-on impact on people wishing to remain within the Yarra Ranges, who may wish to downsize or buy a first home.”