AirBnB welcome: NCAT overturns apartment block strata ban

In a win for an AirBnB host living in an apartment block, the NSW Civil Administration Tribunal (NCAT) has ruled that a strata body was unable to pass by-laws banning short-term lets - including short stays through platforms like AirBnB.

The ruling was handed down when a resident of a Woollahra apartment argued that the apartment block strata body didn’t have the power to ban short term leases, citing a New South Wales Fair Trading note from November 2016, which stated that “no by-law is capable of restricting a dealing in a lot including restricting short term letting.”

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At this level, NCAT decisions don’t create a precedent and would-be hosts are still encouraged to check with their strata body and local government before going ahead with an AirBnB arrangement. 

However, Mozo property expert Steve Jovcevski says the decision could open the door for potential AirBnB hosts, who may have hesitated before.

“For those people who own an apartment in a complex and were discouraged from using AirBnB to let out their property, this may give them the confidence to try the platform out,” he said.

But strata laws aren’t the only thing you need to consider before jumping on the AirBnB bandwagon, Jovcevski pointed out.

“One thing to be aware of is that taking on AirBnB tenants will usually mean more wear and tear on your property - which might mean you’ll have to renovate earlier than you would otherwise have to in order to keep the place looking up to snuff,” he said.

Another thing Jovcevski said is important for anyone thinking of getting involved in AirBnB, is considering how it will affect your home insurance cover.

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While AirBnB offers a Host Guarantee to cover property damage costs above the security deposit up to $10,000, there are a range of other things this doesn’t cover, including personal liability, cash and jewellery.

The AirBnB website points out that this guarantee is not a replacement for insurance, and uges hosts to take out an insurance policy as well. Jovcevski agrees.

“Some insurance policies will cover you for claims caused by an AirBnB tenant, while others won’t. It can be tricky to work out the fine print, so the best option is often just to get in contact with your insurer to find out one way or the other,” he said.

“And if your insurer says you will be covered, it’s a good idea to get that in writing, just in case.”

If you’re in the market for a new home insurance policy before you stick your property up on AirBnB, head over to our home insurance hub to compare deals. You can also take a look at the winners of our Experts Choice Home Insurance Awards, for the best value and quality policies on the market today.