ONLINE holiday and visitor booking platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway contribute an estimated $31 billion to the Australian economy each year.
The platforms have been a real boon for the short stay accommodation market - in some respects have developed that market in dramatic new directions - and for tourism across the country.
Individual property owners have used the platforms to earn income, and visitors have benefited from being able to choose from a much broader range of holiday accommodation styles and types.
But there have been downsides to this explosion of choice, not the least being the introduction of unregulated "party houses" or "party units" in otherwise traditional - and often highly desirable - neighbourhoods.
Because that's the problem with renting an established home or apartment instead of a hotel.
That comfort level is just too enticing to not make yourself at home, and that is including rowdy parties that are not welcome by hosts or neighbours.
The NSW government responded to growing concerns in 2018 by announcing amendments to planning rules that will come into effect later this year, which are designed to support short stay rental accommodation while imposing controls to limit antisocial behaviour.
A new framework will include a code of conduct for online accommodation platforms, letting agents, hosts and guests covering issues like noise levels, disruptive guests and effects on shared neighbourhood amenities.
A "two strikes and you're out" policy will see hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the code within two years banned for five, and be listed on an exclusion register.
The new rules will designate short-term holiday letting as exempt development, requiring no formal consent, when the host is present and under certain other circumstances.
It has left councils outside Sydney with the power to decide if year-round short term accommodation is suitable for communities, but requires regional areas to allow individual owners to rent out their properties for at least 180 nights per year.
The new rules will not prevent antisocial behaviour, but they will bring much-needed accountability to this new area.