Tourist and visitor accommodation

The emergence of online booking systems such as Airbnb and Stayz has seen short-term holiday letting expand significantly in NSW. The key challenge in the growth of this sector is the lack of regulatory instruments to clarify the provision of holiday letting and how to maintain the amenity of existing residents in the neighbourhood whilst ensuring the safety of the visitors.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is currently in the process of reforming policy and regulatory control on short-term holiday letting.

Refer to NSW Planning - Short-term holiday letting for more information.

Whilst Ku-ring-gai Council recognises the role of short term leases in providing accommodation for tourists and visitors, these uses are confined to specific zones thereby limiting the impact on Ku-ring-gai's residential areas due to the effects of transient populations.

There are two ways of getting the permission to use your property for short-term holiday letting:

  1. Obtain a Complying Development Certificate
  2. Obtain a Development Application approval.

Prior to operating any type of short term holiday letting of your property, you must get development consent either through a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) or through a Development Application (DA) lodged with Council.

Note: For dwellings in a residential flat building or townhouse development, please check the property’s strata by-laws.

Note: As per Cl. 49 of Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, owners’ consent is required from the body corporate when lodging a DA or CDC application.  

Complying Development Certificate (CDC)

Uses which will not have a high immediate or cumulative impact on a neighbourhood may be considered as exempt or complying development under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP 2008).

Only 'bed and breakfast accommodation' is considered complying development under the Codes SEPP 2008, provided it meets the stated requirements of that Code. 

A Complying Development Certificate is required under the Codes SEPP 2008 before the property can legally be used for bed and breakfast accommodation.

Under the NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Standard Instrument Definitions 'bed and breakfast accommodation' is defined as:

An existing dwelling in which temporary or short-term accommodation is provided on a commercial basis by the permanent residents of the dwelling and where:

a)   meals are provided for guests only, and

b)   cooking facilities for the preparation of meals are not provided within guests' rooms, and

c)   dormitory-style accommodation is not provided.

Note: The full definition also refers to controls relating to the maximum number of bedrooms allowed and other requirements.

To get a Complying Development Certificate, the owner of the property must comply with the specific requirements set out for ‘bed and breakfast accommodation’ under the Codes SEPP 2008. If the development falls outside any of the relevant criteria, then a Development Application seeking development consent from Council would be required.

Development Application (DA)

Any development that is not exempt or complying under the Codes SEPP 2008 requires a Development Application to be lodged with Council. Council's approval of the Development Application will give the required consent to conduct the development within Ku-ring-gai.

The Development Application process can be viewed at the following link: A Guide to Preparing and Lodging a Development Application.

Ku-ring-gai Council’s planning instruments (Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans) refer to five types of short term letting accommodation under the term ‘Tourist and Visitor Accommodation’.

The Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans define ‘Tourist and Visitor Accommodation’ as:

A building or place that provides temporary or short-term accommodation on a commercial basis, and includes any of the following:

a)   backpackers' accommodation,

b)   bed and breakfast accommodation,

c)   farm stay accommodation,

d)   hotel or motel accommodation,

e)   serviced apartments,

but does not include:

f)   camping grounds,

g)   caravan parks, or

h)   eco-tourist facilities.

Each of the short term tourist and visitor accommodation types listed above under (a)-(e), are only permitted in certain zones within the Ku-ring-gai Council area.

To find out where and what type of tourist and visitor accommodation is permitted within Ku-ring-gai, follow these steps:

  1. First find the zoning of a property on the Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plan zoning maps, via the Web Map - Online mapping tool.
  2. Then check the KLEP Written Instrument to find what type of development is permitted or prohibited in that zone at the following links:

Note: Shared Houses and any Long-Term Rentals are to operate under the 'Residential Tenancies Act 2010'.

Note: Boarding Houses required Development Approval and are to operate under the Boarding Houses Act 2012.

Only certain types of tourist and visitor accommodation are permitted (via a Development Application) in each of Council's zoned areas as described below.

Backpackers Accommodation

The Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans define this as:

A building or place that:

a)   provides temporary or short-term accommodation on a commercial basis, and

b)   has shared facilities, such as a communal bathroom, kitchen or laundry, and

c)   provides accommodation on a bed or dormitory-style basis (rather than by room).

This may be permissible development with Council's development consent in the following zones:

  • B2 Local Centre

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

The Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans define this as:

An existing dwelling in which temporary or short-term accommodation is provided on a commercial basis by the permanent residents of the dwelling and where:

a)   meals are provided for guests only, and

b)   cooking facilities for the preparation of meals are not provided within guests' rooms, and

c)   dormitory-style accommodation is not provided.

The Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans also state the following under Clause 5.4(1):

If development for the purposes of bed and breakfast accommodation is permitted under this Plan, the accommodation that is provided to guests must consist of no more than 3 bedrooms.

Note: Any such development that provides for a certain number of guests or rooms may involve a change in the class of building under the Building Code of Australia.

This may be permissible development with development consent in the following zones:

  • R2 Low Density Residential

  • R3 Medium Density Residential

  • R4 High Density Residential

  • R5 Large Lot Residential

  • B1 Neighbourhood Centre

  • B2 Local Centre

  • E3 Environmental Management

  • E4 Environmental Living

Hotel or Motel Accommodation

The Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans define this as:

A building or place (whether or not licensed premises under the Liquor Act 2007) that provides temporary or short-term accommodation on a commercial basis and that:

a)   comprises rooms or self-contained suites, and

b)   may provide meals to guests or the general public and facilities for the parking of guests' vehicles,

but does not include backpackers' accommodation, a boarding house, bed and breakfast accommodation or farm stay accommodation.

This may be permissible development with Council's development consent in the following zones:

  • B2 Local Centre

  • B4 Mixed Use

  • B5 Business Development

  • B7 Business Park 

Serviced Apartments

The Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plans define this as:

A building (or part of a building) providing self-contained accommodation to tourists or visitors on a commercial basis and that is regularly serviced or cleaned by the owner or manager of the building or part of the building or the owner's or manager's agents.

This may be permissible development with Council's development consent in the following zones:

  • B2 Local Centres