Short-term rental of the family home, apartment or an investment property can be a valuable source of additional income. Web enabled technology has provided an efficient way of offering homes and spare rooms for short-term holiday letting to an expanding global customer market, utilising services such as Airbnb, Stayz or advertising on Gumtree.    

The City of Perth values the complementary role that a range of temporary accommodation options can play in the support of tourism. The City also recognises the need to ensure that the amenity of permanent city residents is protected.

Apartment buildings within the City of Perth can be approved for Residential use, Special Residential use or a mix of the two.  These are defined in City Planning Scheme No. 2 as follows: -

Special Residential Use: means premises providing short term, temporary or specialised residential accommodation including a lodging house, hotel and serviced apartment.

Residential Use: means premises providing for long term or permanent residential accommodation including: grouped dwellings, single houses and multiple dwellings.

Short Term Accommodation is defined under City Planning Scheme No. 2: as meaning accommodation that may be occupied for a continuous maximum period of three months within any one 12-month period, and is not subject to residential tenancy agreements (residential leases).

A change of use occurs when a dwelling is let to visitors on a commercial basis, changing the nature of the occupation of the property. This change of use from ‘Residential’ to ‘Special Residential’ requires development approval from the City.

Residents in apartment buildings that become partly converted to ‘serviced apartments’ without the proper approvals being in place have raised a number of problems.  Some of these concerns include matters such as fire safety, health, service levels, amenity and financial burden.  There may be an adverse long-term impact on building quality, property values and the way city living is viewed if long and short-term accommodation types are not effectively managed.

To address these issues the City has adopted its ‘Special Residential (Serviced and Short Term Accommodation) Policy’ (click here to view the policy).  The intention of the policy is to provide clear guidance on the development of these uses in a manner consistent with the orderly and proper planning of the city. A piecemeal approach to the change of use of either Special Residential to Residential or Residential to Special Residential on a dwelling by dwelling basis is not considered appropriate.

It should also be noted that short-stay and serviced apartments are classified as Class 3 buildings under the Building Code of Australia.  All applications for change of use of existing buildings to Special Residential uses, two storeys or higher, will be required to demonstrate how the development will comply with Australian Standard 1670, which will require a building wide alarm and connect to the fire brigade through a Fire Indicator Panel.

All applications will also be required to demonstrate compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Before you decide to use your apartment or house for short term accommodation, you should refer to the City’s ‘Special Residential (Serviced and Short Term Accommodation) Policy and contact the City’s Planning officers and Building Surveyors.

Being informed can avoid you having to face fines or other penalties resulting from the unlawful use of your property.