Tourism Business Licensing and Registration
Your tourism business may need government licences, permits, or registration before it can start. Examples include licences for accommodation providers, tour operators and travel agents, and registration for residential short-term rental accommodation.
Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)
The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) is a free service that simplifies the process of finding out which licences your business needs.
By either making one phone call or visiting ABLIS online you can find out which licences you need and the forms required.
To find out more:
• phone NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20
• search for licence information on the ABLIS website.
Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) register and rules
Residential short-term rental accommodation (STRA) properties must be registered on the NSW Government STRA register, and follow the rules for STRA.
What is STRA?
STRA is accommodation that is made available to others on a commercial basis for a temporary or short-term period. STRA is often facilitated through online booking platforms such as Stayz, Airbnb or Booking.com. It includes residential accommodation such as houses, units and terraces.
Approved tourist and visitor accommodation such as serviced apartments, bed and breakfasts, eco-tourist facilities, hotels, motels, resorts, camping grounds or caravan parks are not required to register for STRA. They are allowed to continue to be listed on online accommodation platforms.
What do STRA hosts need to do?
If you plan to use any part of your property as short term rental, you must:
- register it on the NSW STRA Register
- make sure it meets the fire safety standards
- make sure you abide by the new Code of Conduct.
- take note of any restrictions on the number of days it can be rented each year, and make sure you do not allow it to be rented out for more days than are allowed.
There are penalties for not complying with the new rules.
For more information and to register, visit the NSW Government Planning Portal.
To see the Information for Hosts Fact Sheet, click here.
For information on how to register for the NSW Planning Portal, click here.
The Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct mandates that hosts in NSW are required to:
- Act honestly and in good faith in relation to bookings, and any complaints or disputes that might arise.
- Ensure your accommodation is accurately represented in the listing description.
- Hold insurance that covers liability for third party injuries and death.
- Be contactable to manage guests, the premises, and neighbourhood complaints within ordinary hours (8:00am-5:00pm every day of the week) and outside ordinary hours to deal with emergencies.
- Provide guests with:
- The contact details of:
- Yourself, co-host, or property management company carrying out hosting responsibilities on your behalf
- An emergency electrician and plumber
- Australian emergency services on 000
- A copy of the Code of Conduct
- Educate your guests and take reasonable steps to ensure they comply with their obligations under the Code of Conduct. Generally, these guest obligations mean that guests should treat the listing and community respectfully and not disturb neighbours during their stay.
- Let your neighbours know that you are hosting and provide them with your contact details, or those of your co-host. Additionally, if you live in a strata or community scheme, you must notify the owner’s corporation or the community association. If you are contacted by a neighbour about a possible contravention of the Code of Conduct, you must take reasonable steps to address those concerns.
Best practice would be to add important contact numbers and the Code of Conduct to the itinerary or confirmation which is sent to the guest after they have made a reservation, and / or provide this information within your listing description and terms. Please review the Code of Conduct on the NSW Government’s website for additional information.
Complaints and penalties
A host or guest is able to make a complaint regarding a breach of the Code of Conduct. Hosts and guests are to seek to resolve the issue directly, before contacting NSW Fair Trading. For more information about filing a complaint, visit the NSW Government website.
Any breach in the Code of Conduct will result in penalties for hosts and guests. We encourage you to review your obligations carefully. Penalties can include being banned from hosting or booking a short-term rental accommodation for up to five years.
Code of Conduct FAQ
How does the Code of Conduct apply to a co-host or property management company managing my listing?
The obligations for hosts under the Code of Conduct will apply equally to you as a “host” defined under the Code of Conduct, and your co-host or property management company, as a “facilitator” defined under the Code of Conduct. Your use of a facilitator—such as a co-host or a property management company—does not alter your obligations as a host under the Code of Conduct.
What steps can I take to educate my guests about their obligations under the Code of Conduct?
The Code of Conduct sets obligations for guests, including:
- Not making noise that would unreasonably disrupt or interfere with the peace and comfort of neighbours
- Respecting the accommodation and community, by not intentionally, recklessly or negligently damaging personal or common property
- Abiding by your house rules, including any by-laws which apply to your listing in a strata or community scheme
- Guests are responsible for the actions and behaviour of any visitors they invite to the listing during their stay
Many of these obligations are common sense. Some practical steps you can take to educate your guests about their obligations include:
- Review the Code of Conduct to make sure you understand what is expected of guests, as well as yourself as a host.
- To help set expectations, you can update your booking conditions that guests have to agree to before booking. Please note, if a guest breaks one of these conditions once they’ve booked, you can cancel the reservation.
- During your stay in my listing I require that you are aware of and agree to abide by the NSW Government’s Code of Conduct for the Short-term Rental Accommodation Industry. In abiding with the Code of Conduct, you also agree to:
- Treat my neighbours with respect by keeping noise to a minimum and within acceptable levels
- Not host parties or events that would disrupt the peace and comfort of my home or neighbours, and
- Follow booking conditions
What steps do I take to let my neighbours or strata know that I am hosting?
The Code of Conduct requires that you let your neighbours know that you are hosting and provide them with your contact details, or those of your co-host or property management company. If you live in a strata or community scheme, you must notify the owners corporation or the community association. Include the contact details of yourself, and your co-host, or property management company.
If you do not host in a strata or community scheme, we advise you to contact your immediate neighbours to advise them that you are hosting in your property and include the contact details of yourself, and your co-host, or property management company. In both scenarios, we encourage you to keep a record of the steps you have taken.
How does the exclusion register work if I host multiple properties?
The Code of Conduct states that a guest, a host, or a host in relation to a listing, may be placed on the exclusion register if they have two strikes recorded for any infringement of the Code of Conduct. If you manage multiple properties, and you have two strikes recorded for a single property, you will be prohibited from continuing to take bookings for that listing but may continue to host other properties. If you have a strike recorded for infringement of the Code of Conduct for any reason, we recommend that you review your hosting activity and take all possible measures to ensure the Code of Conduct is upheld by you, any authorised co-host, or property management company you designate.
If a guest, a host, or a host in relation to a listing is placed on the exclusion register, booking platforms will be obligated to prevent any bookings being made by that person or for that listing.
How does the complaints process work?
Complaints are managed by the NSW Government and can be lodged with NSW Fair Trading for an alleged contravention of the Code of Conduct. Complaints must be dealt with fairly, consider all the available evidence, and offer the opportunity for all parties to have their voice heard. Before a complaint is lodged with NSW Fair Trading, it must first be raised with the relevant industry participant and an attempt made to resolve the complaint. There are protections against complaints which are frivolous, vexatious, trivial, misconceived or without substance.