Steffan Harries

Short Term Accommodation

In partnership with STAAA:

We’re happy to partner with the Short Term Accommodation Association Australia (STAAA) and provide their members with guidance on potential town planning issues when endeavouring to start a new short-term land use in Queensland. We have put together some helpful information on this page to help members get a head start.

Multiple dwelling approval for apartments

When considering if your short term accommodation use requires approval, the first step is to consider what the defined land use within the local planning scheme and relevant regulation is. In Queensland, these document can be found via your local council website (usually by Googling “*LOCAL COUNCL* planning scheme”) and researching the state-wide Planning Regulation 2017.

Jump ahead on this page:

What is the defined land use for a short term accommodation use?

Defining your land use can be a subjective process and will depend on the intention of how the use will operate. In Queensland, there are three definitions (taken from the state Planning Regulation) that allow for the use of a Dwelling on a short-term rental basis:

Short-term accommodation:

(a) means the use of premises for

(i) providing accommodation of less than 3 consecutive months to tourists or travellers; or

(ii) a manager’s residence, office, or recreation facilities for the exclusive use of guests, if the use is ancillary to the use in subparagraph (i); but

(b) does not include a hotel, nature-based tourism, resort complex or tourist park.

Party House 

means premises containing a dwelling that is used to provide, for a fee, accommodation or facilities for guests if—

(a) guests regularly use all or part of the premises for parties (bucks parties, hens parties, raves, or wedding receptions, for example); and

(b) the accommodation or facilities are provided for a period of less than 10 days; and

(c) the owner of the premises does not occupy the premises during that period.

             Home-based business

means the use of a dwelling or domestic outbuilding on premises for a business activity that is subordinate to the residential use of the premises. – Example includes a bed and breakfast.

What are some common interpretations of the defined land uses?

In most instances, short term uses (such as a ‘Airbnb’) fall under the definition of a ‘Short-term accommodation’ and we only really see the term ‘Party house’ be used where in designated tourist regions such as the ‘Party house precinct’ under the City of Gold Coast City Plan.

We find that short term accommodation uses can operate under the definition of a ‘Home-based business’ but will generally have a requirement for the use to be secondary to the primary function of the premises as a dwelling and the person operating the business use must reside in the premises. Think, your traditional BnB style business where you’re simply staying at another families house where the owners will serve breakfast in the morning.

townhouse approval

Do you need approval?

A Short-term accommodation land use is generally considered a commercial land use within planning schemes and is therefore, mostly not desired within residential areas or developments. As a result, it is very common to require a planning permit to operate a new short-term accommodation use.

If you are considering a new short-term accommodation use, please feel free to reach out to one of our planners by filling out the form below. We just need your address and an idea of how you want to operate the use and we’ll come back to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we can only assist with your enquiries in Queensland.

Need some obligation-free advice on a property? Submit your details below and we’ll have someone get in touch.

What else do you need to consider if you need a permit?

If you require approval from council to operate, there are a few things to consider in order of what we think you should consider:

  1. Do you need land owners consent? As part of any development application, under s51 of the Planning Act 2016, the application must be accompanied by written consent of the owner of the premises. If your property is affected by a Body Corporate (e.g. in a unit complex), in addition to your consent, the Body Corporate will also be required to provide written consent via Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting notes. This can sometimes be a show-stopping issue.
  2. If you can get consent, what are your likely chances of success. Just because you can apply for the use, it doesn’t mean that it will be supported by Council. Here at Steffan Harries, we’re happy to provide you with a quick review to give you an idea as to whether we think you have good chances of approval.
  3. What are the costs & timeframes involved with lodging an application?

This isn’t an exhaustive list, just a few town planning matters that you should consider and we recommend approaching a industry body such as STAAA to consider other aspects of operating a short-term accommodation use such as insurances and other liabilities.

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