Holiday and short-term rentals

Short-term rental of the family home, unit or investment property can be a valuable source of additional income. Brisbane City Council values the complementary role that a range of temporary accommodation options can play in the support of tourism, business conventions and major events in Brisbane. This fact sheet explains the requirements for someone wishing to rent out their home, unit or investment property on a short-term basis.


How does Council regulate temporary accommodation?

Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan) has provisions for all types of short-term rentals and the assessment of a proposal considers the potential impacts on the immediate neighbourhood. City Plan ensures that the temporary accommodation is of a scale and occupancy turnover that is compatible with community expectations in the immediate neighbourhood. City Plan provides the requirements for the establishment and continuation of the use of the dwelling but does not offer insurance or any other form of protection for home owners who are renting out a dwelling or rooms, or for the renters.

Home-based business

The short-term rental of a room/s in a house or unit, such as a bed and breakfast, is defined as a ‘home-based business’. A home-based business providing temporary accommodation must be subsidiary to the principal residential use. To see if you need to lodge an application with Council, you can assess your home-based business proposal using criteria outlined in Section 9.3.10 Home based business code in City Plan. Small establishments that do not impact on neighbours will generally meet these criteria. For a quick guide see Council’s City Plan fact sheet for residents (Home-based businesses).

Short-term accommodation

The short-term rental of an entire dwelling house or unit by the property owner is unlikely to be a subsidiary to the residential use of the property. This would likely constitute a ‘short-term accommodation’ and require development approval from Council. In this context, City Plan defines ’short-term’ as typically a stay of less than three consecutive months. This includes motel, backpackers, cabins, serviced apartments, accommodation hotel, farm stay, AirBnB, Stayz and other similar forms of accommodation.

The development application is assessed by Council against Section 9.3.22 Short-term accommodation code in City Plan. Short-term accommodation is primarily supported in centre zones or located near tourist, cultural or shopping and leisure facilities. There are no public notification requirements for the application process for sites in centre zones, higher density residential areas and in some low-medium density areas located on arterial or suburban roads. City Plan primarily ensures that adjoining residents or businesses are not significantly impacted by the use.

If a residential lease is for a longer period (over three consecutive months) the use is defined as a dwelling house, dual occupancy or a multiple dwelling, depending on the number of separate households on the premises. If the residential use involves individual rooms leased separately to different people it is defined as rooming accommodation. You can find further information about rooming accommodation on Council’s website.

How to check if Council approval is required

Not all temporary accommodation needs Council approval. If you are proposing a home-based business use, a PD Online property enquiry can help you determine if the proposal requires Council approval. You can also phone Council on (07) 3403 8888 during business hours and ask to speak to a town planner.

While Council aims to assist you through the process, you may wish to engage a consultant, town planner, surveyor or other appropriately qualified professional for help with your building or development project.

For help with preparing an application, go to Council’s website and search ‘Preparing an application’.

How can Council help your business?

Council has a number of initiatives to help you with your business.

  1. 133 BNE - Council’s dedicated hotline will help you with your business-related queries. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  2. Brisbane Community Profiles. An online tool to provide you with accurate and up-to-date social, economic and demographic information for any area in Brisbane. This will help you to understand your local customers, make informed strategic decisions and identify new areas to grow your business.
  3. Pre-lodgement advice service. Council’s pre-lodgement service allows you to meet with a Council officer to ask questions, explore options and confirm requirements before finalising and lodging your development application if required. The service is available for a fee and can also be done via video conferencing.

Tips for setting up a holiday or short-term rental

  • Check for other regulations and licences you may need for your proposed business, such as:
    • a food business licence from Council if you are preparing food, for example as a bed and breakfast
    • body corporate rules and regulations.
  • If you need help lodging a development application, a consultant town planner can help by preparing a development application for you.
  • A private certifier must approve any building work, such as extensions. This is separate to Council’s development approval.
  • Phone Council’s dedicated Business Hotline, 133 BNE (133 263), for support and information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More information

For more information about City Plan and to access the interactive mapping tool or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

You can also attend one of the Talk to a Planner sessions that Council holds throughout the year to speak to a Council officer in person.

If you would like to be kept up-to-date with future services and general planning and development in the city, you can register by emailing

Disclaimer: The content of this information sheet is a summary only and has been prepared to assist the reader to understand City Plan. Please refer to the full City Plan document, entitled Brisbane City Plan 2014 on Council’s website for further detail. 

Last updated:5 June 2019