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Vacant property taxes, levies and caps on the table as NSW Labor reviews Airbnbs and short-term rentals

<span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Vacant property taxes, levies and annual caps will be considered when the New South Wales government reviews regulation of short-term rentals including Airbnbs over the next six months.

The housing minister, Rose Jackson, who will lead the review, hoped to find ways to move some holiday rentals and unoccupied properties on to the longer-term rental market as the Minns government confronts the state’s chronic housing crisis.

Jackson said the government was “determined to do everything we can” and would place “every part of our housing market … under the microscope”.

Related: Western Australia to offer Airbnb owners $10,000 to rent to long-term tenants

“This review will advise the NSW government on possible ways to better utilise all forms of housing, including short-term rental accommodation, vacant property and holiday homes,” Jackson said.

“This includes exploring the potential to transition some of this housing to the long-term rental market and other ways to minimise its negative impacts on the housing market.”

The terms of reference are expected to be finalised before the end of the month, with the review to be completed in the first half of 2024.

But key industry players including Airbnb and Stayz claim the minister has yet to contact them about the review, and are urging the government to be cautious about the impact changes could have on tourism and the economy.

Jackson will work alongside the treasurer, Daniel Mookhey, the planning minister, Paul Scully and the better regulation minister, Anoulack Chanthivong, who is also working to progress rental reforms including ending no-grounds evictions next year.

Mookhey said the wide-ranging review would assess the impact of regulations and tax reforms including vacant property taxes where they had already been implemented, including in New York, London and Barcelona.

“The effect of stock migrating from long-term rentals to short-term rentals is not unique to NSW, nor is it unique to Australia,” he said.

“It is a globally recognised phenomenon as new sharing platforms – or Airbnb‑style products – are having an effect.”

Earlier this year, Victoria announced it would introduce a 7.5% levy on platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz, with the government hoping to raise about $70m annually for social and affordable housing.

The NSW treasurer said it was “prudent” that the sector and its impact on the longer-term rental market was examined.

“Right now so many people are without a roof over their heads, and those with a roof over their heads are paying higher rent or higher mortgages,” Mookhey said.

Airbnb’s local head of public policy, Michael Crosby, welcomed the review into the sector, while warning the government against drastic action.

“Last year, Airbnb guests spent over $3bn and supported nearly 28,000 jobs in communities across NSW,” he said.

“We’re committed to working with local councils in developing appropriate local plans which don’t jeopardise travel benefiting more people and communities across the state.”

In September, Byron shire council was given the green light to cap some short-stay rentals at 60 days a year in line with advice from the state’s independent planning tribunal.

Related: NSW approves 60-day short-term holiday rental cap in Byron Bay amid housing stress

Mayors in other holiday hotspots have called for the same allowances, with the number of short-term rentals registered across NSW surging by 42% since 2021 to exceed 45,000.

Last month councils agreed they would call on the government to prioritise the review of short-term rental accommodation at the Local Government NSW conference.

LGNSW president, Darriea Turley, said the body supported the government regulating holiday and short-term accommodation by, in part, allowing councils to apply business rates to serviced apartments that provide tourist accommodation.

Stayz corporate affairs director, Eacham Curry, also had not been contacted about the review. He supported a review of the efficacy of caps “but otherwise suggest[s] maintaining the status quo”.

“We would also caution against actions driven by assumptions that short-term rentals is driving housing affordability or availability issues,” he said.

“Having not yet been invited to participate in any review, it is difficult to gauge the government’s willingness to work with the sector.”