Get started now! Brisbane: Council Rules & BNB Hosting (The Best Guide)

Everything you need to know about Brisbane Council and starting your own Airbnb in Brisbane
Get started now! Brisbane: Council Rules & BNB Hosting (The Best Guide)

Last Updated: 29/11/2022

Brisbane is BOOMING! 

The once sleepy town is racing into the future, with huge amounts of new residents moving north.

It seems that suddenly everyone has recognised Brisbane as a great place to live. 

People seem to be worrying less about the heat and slower pace. Instead they want a different lifestyle, an escape from lockdowns, and more property for their money. 

It’s also been thrust into the spotlight as a highly liveable city, with Brisbane being awarded as the site of what is set to be the most sustainable Olympics ever in 2032.


All of this translates to one thing – HUGE Demand! 

When there is demand, and a finite amount of properties, we are sure to see upward pressure on prices. 

Major bank estimates tip Brisbane’s property prices to rise somewhere around 20% as we move into 2022, so big things are on the horizon. 

Experts are also predicting Brisbane will reach a $1 million median property price well before the 2032 Olympic games, with suburbs that are close by reaching almost $4 million. 

So, the question to ask is – can you afford to wait? 

Our advice would be to get started – NOW! 


Is Brisbane Airbnb friendly?

On the whole, Brisbane is certainly more friendly than the Gold Coast for starting your own bed and breakfast using a platform like Airbnb, VRBO, Stayz, or 

In comparison to the Gold Coast, where the relevant pages and Council’s online material make it seem somewhat confusing, the Brisbane City Council gets straight to the point. 

Do you need council approval to open your own bed and breakfast in Brisbane?

So, do you need council approval to host your own Airbnb if you live in Brisbane? 

The short answer is – it depends on what you are planning to do. 

Compared to the Gold Coast, where the relevant pages and online material make it seem somewhat confusing, the BCC gets straight to the point. 

If you want to open an Airbnb in Brisbane, then you have two options.

Generally, if you are planning to host guests on the property you live on, then you don’t need approval if you operate within the home-based business guidelines, which provide a very fair compromise. 

But, if you’re an investor and don’t live at the property, then you will need to get full council approval with a material change of use development application. 

Of course there are other circumstances that will still require you to get planning approval, even if you live at the property, so we’ll explain how to check if you can open your own Airbnb in Brisbane below. 

How to check if your Bed and Breakfast Needs Brisbane City Council Approval 

Firstly, you need to check your zoning. View the Brisbane City Council City Plan Interactive Map, add the zoning overlay using the options menu on the right, then check what zoning your property falls under. 

You can compare your zoning to the list below, which is located on the following page – 

Information on home-based businesses and zoning in Brisbane. 

Preferred Zoning Types for Short Term Rental Accommodation in Brisbane

Brisbane City Council’s 2014 Plan encourages home-based businesses to locate in:

If your property is in one of the above zones, and you live on the property, then you are able to operate a home-based business from it, and are not automatically required by your property’s zoning to submit a development application. 

For more about how to check your zoning, overlays, site area, and neighborhood plan, to understand whether or not you need planning approval from the Council, visit this useful page – Key facts about a property.

Furthermore, the Brisbane City Council has created this very handy online tool that lets you answer questions to check whether you can run a home-based business from your address. 

Use the Brisbane Home-based business: Self Assessable Checklist to understand whether or not you need to submit an application and get Council approval before you open your Airbnb. 

If your property meets the accepted development criteria for a bed and breakfast operating as a home-based business, and therefore does not need Council approval, then you don’t need any written approval to open your own Airbnb in Brisbane. 

Congrats, we hope that was easy! 

But you’ll also need to check if your property is within any of the following overlays: 

  • Airport Environs overlays  Bushfire overlay
  • Coastal hazard overlay
  • Commercial character building overlay
  • Flood overlays
  • Heritage overlay
  • Landslide overlay
  • Potential and actual acid sulfate soils overlay
  • Road hierarchy overlay
  • Water resource catchments overlay
  • Waterway corridor overlay

If your property is within any of these overlays, you will still need to check with the Business Hotline by calling 133 BNE (133 263) and ask them for confirmation that you can operate a home-based business at your residence. 

Below we’ll discuss the specific points of operating your bed and breakfast in Brisbane. These are important to know, as failing to meet these requirements may result in complaints and letters from the council asking you to cease and desist. 

As a new Airbnb host, knowing your obligations is very important, because it directly lets you know what you can and can’t do in relation to your intended bed and breakfast operation.

Can I open an Airbnb as a home-based Business in Brisbane?

This is the easiest option for most new Airbnb Hosts. 

If you have the space, and are able to meet the guidelines below, then you can open your business right away without having to obtain written planning approval from the Brisbane City Council. 

How to operate an Airbnb as a home-based business in Brisbane

It’s simple, really! You just need to fit into the guidelines below.

The number one consideration is that you are a resident of the property, and it is considered your main residence.

Then, you need to make sure your intended bed and breakfast business activities fall within the guidelines of the Brisbane Home-based business code.

What is defined as a home-based business in Brisbane?


As defined by the BCC’s Schedule 1 Definitons, a home-based business is: 


“Home-based business m’eans the use of a dwelling or domestic outbuilding on premises for a business activity that is subordinate to the residential use of the premises.”


Examples include:

Bed and breakfast, home office, home-based childcare

Does not include the following examples:

Hobby, office, shop, warehouse, transport depot




As you will see in the screenshot below, and in the above text, a bed and breakfast is the first example included in the list.


Bed and breakfasts can be run as a home-based business in Queensland, Australia.

As we can see, the above screen shot is the exact defintion of a home-based business according to the Brisbane City Council’s City Plan, which lists bed and breakfast as the first example.

What are the requirements for running an Airbnb as a home-based business in Brisbane?

The Brisbane City Council Home-based Business Code in section states that:

“Bed and breakfast is the ancillary use of a dwelling providing tourist and visitor short-term accommodation on a commercial basis. Bed and breakfast facilities are operated and maintained by the resident host and guests are generally provided with breakfast. A bed and breakfast does not include short-term accommodation or rooming accommodation.”

Below we will discuss the applicable sections of the Home-based Business code that specifically relate to operating your own bed and breakfast from home. 


“PO1. Development is subordinate in size and function and is an inconspicuous component of the primary use of the dwelling as a permanent residence.

  1. The bed and breakfast may be anywhere on the premises, and does not have to be within the main structure, and can be within a suitable external structure such as a shed, granny flat, or anywhere else on the property. 
  2. Must only have a maximum of 1 non-resident employee on the premises at once for a normal dwelling house, or for a dual-key or multiple dwelling has no non-resident employee on the premises. 
  3. The business must be conducted by one of the permanent residents that live on the property, which can be in a separate dwelling, such as a granny flat or the main house. 
  4. Bed and breakfasts and farm stays do not need to adhere to the 50m2 total space limit. 
  5. Nothing can be stored outside. 


“PO2. Development ensures that the hours of operation for the home-based business are controlled so that the use does not adversely impact the amenity of a nearby sensitive use.”

  1. There are no time restrictions for bed and breakfasts in Brisbane. However, we recommend keeping to the standard check in and check out times whenever possible to avoid interrupting your neighbours.
    1. Happy neighbours are good neighbours! Our suggestions are check-in no later than 5PM and check-out no earlier than 9AM.
    2. Whenever possible we find automated check-in to be easiest for everyone involved, especially with smart locks and access codes. 


“PO3 Development is of a nature and scale which does not result in excessive noise emissions that meet specified criteria.” 

  1. There are no limits on where your bed and breakfast guests can be, so they can use the whole property, and do not have to stay inside. 
  2. Delivery vehicles may only delivery between 8AM to 6PM, Monday to Saturday. 
  3. Your bed and breakfast must not generate audible noise and create a disturbance in the area, which is defined as a sensitive use zone, ie. residential area, apartment building, or neighborhood. 


“PO4. Development generates no greater load upon utilities servicing the site than would reasonably arise from a residential use on the site.”

  1. Can not use power in excess of total connected load of 2.0KW. 
  2. Does not use excessive amounts of water in excess of 3L per day per square meter of land. Your BNB should easily be under this limit. 
  3. If your property is in an area that is not serviced by town water or sewerage, your bed and breakfast must not exceed the capabilities of your current setup to handle sewerage, grey water and clean water. 

“PO5. Development:

  1. generates vehicular and pedestrian traffic of a volume no greater than reasonably expected in the surrounding residential area;
  2. only uses and has any visits by, vehicle types reasonably expected in the surrounding residential area.”
  1. Your bed and breakfast must not increase the volume of local traffic past what is reasonably expected of the area it is in. 
  2. Guests must only use vehicles that match that of the residential area your bed and breakfast is in. 
  3. Your guests may wait at or near the premises, but no more than 1 employee may wait at any time. 
  4. Bed and breakfasts may have more than 1 guest vehicle parked at the premises at any time, but not more than 1 employee vehicle. 


“PO6. Development must not compromise the safety of the neighbourhood and its residents.”

  1. The code makes no mention of people and rather refers to the storage of dangerous goods, which are not applicable to a bed and breakfast operating as a home business. 


“PO9. Development providing bed and breakfast or farm stay provides acceptable levels of privacy and amenity for residents in adjoining or nearby dwellings.”

  1. No more than 6 guests may be staying at your property at any one time. 
  2. The total number of people on the property, including residents, must not exceed 10. 
  3. Meals must be served to overnight guests only. 


“PO10. Development ensures paying guests are accommodated for a short-term stay and the dwelling is not the usual residence of the guest.”

  1. Unfortunately, bed and breakfast guests can stay for no longer than 14 days.
    1. With the recent popularity of long-term stays, this might be a little bit inconvenient for some Hosts. However, long-term stays sometimes come with their own issues. Guests often expect a long-stay discount, and you need to get them to sign a lease, as well as take a security deposit. However, you won’t need to clean as often – once every 2 weeks at minimum.


“PO11 Development ensures that effluent disposal and treatment minimise odour and impacts on the natural environment.”

  1. If your property does not use the town sewerage setup, then you need to be set up to handle any excess grey water or sewerage that may be in addition to what the normal use of the property requires.
Council Rules and Regulations for Airbnb and short term rentals in Brisbane, Queensland - Explained right here!

An awesome photo of Brisbane City during sunset – shot by photographer Kevin Kobal

Owning an Airbnb as an Investor in Brisbane

There are 2 main factors that will require you to submit a development application and get council approval for your Airbnb with a material change of use. 

  1. If you are not living on the same premises of your bed and breakfast, you can’t run it under the home-based business guidelines. 
  2. If your location is within a zone that requires planning approval. 

Unfortunately, this usually leaves investors and companies out of luck, even though it does provide a small advantage for smaller Hosts. 

So, if you are going to need to get council approval for your Airbnb, then your application will be assessed against the guidelines set out in the Brisbane City Council Short Term Accommodation Code

The purpose of assessing your development application is to minimise the impact on the nearby area for other residents and business owners by maintaining the amenity of the area. 


Development Application Approval Criteria for Short Term Rental Accommodation In Brisbane

Below are the specific criteria taken from the Brisbane Short Term Accommodation Code with explanations. 

“PO1. Development is located on a site with high accessibility to:

  • a principal, major or district centre;
  • high-frequency public transport with services every 15 minutes or less;
  • long-distance transport routes;
  • social, cultural, tourist and leisure facilities and shopping facilities.”

1. Your property must be within one of the following zoning overlays: 

  • Principal centre zone; or
  • Major centre zone; or
  • District centre zone; or
  • High density residential zone.

“PO3. Development is of a nature and scale which does not result in noise emissions that exceed the following criteria:

Noise, emitted from short-term accommodation is not greater than the rating background level plus 3 at a sensitive use.

Where T is:

Day (7am to 6pm): 11hr

Evening (6pm to 10pm): 4hr

Night (10pm to 7am): 9hr.”

  1. Any equipment, such as fridges or air conditioners, must be behind sufficient noise acoustical screening. 
  2. Any boundary shared with a sensitive use property, such as a residence or other business, must have a 2 metre high acoustic fence to block noise. 
  3. Any car parking areas that are used by guests at night, which will be pretty much any parking space, must be acoustically screened from any adjoining residential dwellings. 


“PO2. Development, including parking, is of a nature, scale, layout, design and construction that do not cause adverse impact on the amenity of nearby sensitive uses.”

  1. You need to have adequate on-site parking for the amount of guests you intend to have. This will depend on your property’s layout, in terms of structures and available space. Your town planner will help you draw these up with your site plan.
  2. Your property is located within a zone that allows for some noise and traffic (district, principal, high density residential, or major centre).
  3. Your home-based business operation does not interfere with sensitive use properties (residential) outside of the hours of 7AM to 6PM. 
  4. If you are planning to cook food, your kitchen venting needs to meet specific requirements to avoid impacting on the amenity of the area.


“PO4. Development is located to achieve the air quality (planning) criteria in Table and odour criteria in Table”

  1. The Code is quite specific here, in that it states your development must be at least 150m from an automotive spray painting workshop. 
    1. This is for health and safety reasons and is due to the poisonous nature of the chemicals used in the painting process that can float on the air.

What reports will I need for a material change of use for short term rental accommodation? 

This all depends on the nature of your application and the zoning in which your property is located, as well as it’s individual characteristics. 

For the full explanation of each report needed, visit this page – Supporting plans, reports and drawings

Usually, you will need a combination of the below reports:

You will need to engage a town planner to draw up and submit your application, and they will advise you on which reports you need. 

Generally, a good town planner is definitely worth the investment, but the trick is to find a good one. Start here – Town Planners in Brisbane

If I submit a development application, will my neighbours be informed? 

Yes, the notification period means that the development application will be made public prior to any council decision being made. 

This allows local residents to have their say on the approval of a development application, which is taken into consideration by the Council when issuing approval. 

Your development application will also be made available on the Brisbane City Council Development.i website.

Opening an Airbnb as a property investor in Brisbane can create a lucrative business.

Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is a popular spot for nightlife and entertainment, which makes it a busy and in-demand location for short term rental accommodation.

Lovely shot of the lights in China Town by travelling photographer Valeria Miller.

Do I need any permits or licenses to open an Airbnb in Brisbane? 

Yes, you definitely need to make sure you have the right licenses and permits. 

  • Check for other regulations and licences you may need for your proposed business, such as:
    • A food business licence from Brisbane City Council if you are preparing food, for example as a bed and breakfast
    • Body corporate rules and regulations that may define how you are able to use the lot in your particular residential scheme.
    • Fire safety certificates showing compliance with standards. 
    • Certificate of classification of the Australian Building Code – Class 2.

The easiest way to find out exactly what licenses you need is to use the Australian Business License Information Service – ABLIS. Just fill out their easy to use interactive tool and it will give you all of the information you need. 

Do I need a certifier to sign off on building work for my Airbnb? 

Yes, you definitely need to make sure all building work, whether it be renovations, extensions, or new builds, has been completed to the relevant Queensland building standards. This is separate to Council’s development approval.

As we mentioned, use ABLIS to find out what license you need. 

You NEED a Property Manager!

Choosing to use a short term rental property manager is just smart business. 

Unless you are looking to take on managing your property full-time, then you’ll definitely want to give it some serious thought. 

Many new hosts will consider operating their Airbnb on their own to save money. 

But the question is – how much spare time do you have? 

The reality is that many of us are already too busy. Life should not be about endless work and filling your schedule. It’s to be enjoyed. 

So, buying your time back is a huge opportunity. After all, once that time is gone, you can’t get it back. 

The thing is that opening an Airbnb is like starting any business. You need to actually treat it like a business, and invest in systems and processes that build the foundation for your long-term success. 

Let’s take the example of property investors. Most successful property investors recognize that they are not property managers, and so they choose to employ the services of a professional to do their job, while they continue to keep their day job. 

This not only makes their life easier, as they have more time for the important things, but a good property manager can make their investing career more successful. 

The thing is – you have to treat owning your own Airbnb as a business, just like any smart investor does. Invest in your success, and it will grow exponentially on it’s own, while you continue to maintain your other income streams. 

A good vacation rental property manager can help you increase your booking rates, find the perfect balance of occupancy, and get better reviews, all while making sure your property runs as smoothly as possible. 

So, as you can see, choosing to use a short term rental property manager really IS just smart business. 

HoliHome are professional Airbnb property managers offering our services to the Brisbane short term rental accommodation market. We’re here to help you succeed! 

Start a conversation with us today, so we can help you get on the path to success without delay. We’re akways happy to provide any help or advice. 

– Team HoliHome 

More from the HoliHome Blog

Start typing and press Enter to search