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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

Change the law on holiday letting

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Open letter to Ralph James, governance manager, Byron Shire Council.

A few months ago you explained to me the difficulties the Council (ie the community) would face prosecuting the blatant tourist resort operating at 57 to 61 Shirley St, Byron Bay. You explained that the Melbourne proprietors would argue that the law prohibits only a tourist facility. They would state that since there was no concierge or similar onsite this is not a tourist facility. You went on to say that clearly counsel for Council would argue that nowadays many styles of tourist facilities exist and this is clearly one.

On the other hand, I have suggested to Don Page that it is absurd for Byron Shire Council to be required to spend vast amounts of public money testing a definition in a courtroom when it would be a matter far more convenient and effective for him to deal with by amending the paragraph described by yourself as a mess.

For the benefit of myself and readers could you please reply to me including the problem paragraph and perhaps suggesting a redraft that we may put before our local MP. After all, legislation is his business. I have, if not every, at least some confidence in your ability to rewrite the text. Otherwise I will have a crack at it.

The days of people getting away with this garbage is over. Just like people getting away with dodgy tree removals.

Matthew Hartley, Byron Bay

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  1. Dear Mr Hartley

    Your open letter is addressed to a solicitor (Ralph James) who conned Councillors into making fools of themselves – voting for a “new definition” of a word (“camping”) and applying that “new definition” in relation to accusing a human being of an Offence.
    Ralph James (being a solicitor) would be fully aware that – as confirmed within the content of all legislation – a Court of Law must apply only the dictionary definition.

    As with “camping”, a Court of Law must only apply a dictionary definition in relation to a property being unlawfully used as a “tourist facility” – not the definition invented by the property owner in a pathetic attempt to justify unlawful holiday letting in a residential zone. The definition of a “tourist facility” is not: property with a concierge; nor is “no concierge” the definition of a residential property.

    Contrary to the twaddle attributed to Ralph James – the legal argument relating to “holiday letting” must be based upon only whether or not the usage of the property complies with residential zoning regulations – not whether or not a property complies with the definition of a “tourist facility” and/or whether or not a property must have a concierge in order to comply with the definition of a “tourist facility”.

    The legal argument attributed the owner – that the property does not have a concierge thus the property, located in a residential zone, is not being used as unlawful holiday letting – is as ridiculous as stating: if a property does not have an air-traffic control tower, the property is not being used as an airstrip – despite planes landing on, and taking off from, the property every two minutes.

    Solicitors – such as Ralph James – profiteer from conning people into the false belief that a simply legal dispute is extremely complex; thus expensive to resolve. Do not be conned by solicitors desirous of filling their pockets with the monies of ‘the suckers’. Common Law is the law of common sense – if it does not make sense, it is not the Law.

    The property at 57-61 Shirley Street is not being used as a residential property, the property is being unlawfully used for holiday letting: end of legal argument – fine the owner – shut down the unlawful holiday letting – next!


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