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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Plan to tackle holiday lets

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Hans Lovejoy

Realtor and Byron Shire councillor Rose Wanchap has proposed the establishment of a Liquor Accord-style response to the intractable problems associated with holiday letting in the Bay.

Key to the agreement would be an across-the-board increase in security deposits to a maximum of $5,000 for holiday-let homes in an attempt to address what she described as ‘the issue of unacceptable behaviour,’ by unruly visitors.

The proposal comes as the council last week agreed to initiate a holiday-let forum, which will include members from HLO (Holiday Letting Organisation), ARAMANR (Australian Residential Accommodation Management Association – Northern Rivers), Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL), the real estate sector and the broader community.

Cr Wanchap told Echonetdaily that while there is ‘an excellent set of rules drawn up by the HLO called a code of conduct’, it is ‘clear that regulation of the Holiday Let industry in the Byron Shire is failing.’

‘All the rules in the world mean nothing once alcohol comes into the picture, and it is obvious that it is not working if the number of complaints are any indication.

‘I propose that all managing agents impose a security deposit… of $800 per person, or a maximum of $5,000 per home. If the owners of these homes are concerned that this would lose them business, they can put up the bond themselves. This way the risk that they will behave is on their shoulders, not [on] the community. I believe this will discourage the wrong type of holidaymaker, while families will be happy to pay the deposit because they know they have very little risk of losing it. The code of conduct produced by HLO has all the rules and regulations required to impose the loss of deposit if complaints are received. This would need to be agreed by all holiday letting agents so that no-one is disadvantaged. I would propose a 12-month trial to see if the industry can indeed self-regulate.’

No comment: HLO

HLO spokesperson John Gudgeon told Echonetdaily that his organisation and letting agents ‘welcomed the opportunity to engage with Byron Shire councillors and staff at a meeting to discuss the issues raised relating to holiday letting on Thursday June 20.’

‘It was recognised and accepted by all that a working group representing those present will be convened with the objective of examining the detail of all issues and options raised before any informed policy can be created. While this in process, HLO believes that it is not appropriate to comment or to react publicly to anecdotes quoted. All perspectives are well known and all will be on the table.’


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9 COMMENTS

  1. Great to see the people always fighting for their right to impose more rules and regulations for themselves.
    It’s good to see we are moving further and further away from this so called ‘laid back life style’.

    Benny..

  2. The problems in Byron Bay have been created due to the self absorbed Byron Council allowing nightclubs and late liquor licenses in the town in their ongoing attempts to put their own profits before the needs of the people and turn the Bay into the gold coast. Close the night clubs and pass all costs onto the council like they deserve.

    • Max, as you should surely know, it is the state government, not council, which controls the issuing of liquor licences.

  3. Not many families I know who have a lazy $5,000.

    Will Rose pay them interest on the $5,000?

    How about someone audit’s Rose’s books and see how many properties she has sold over the last 10 years and how many have been converted to holiday lets?

  4. I would think that before any Byron Shire councillors become involved in policy-making decisions regarding the out-of-control illegal holiday letting situation in Byron, they should first publicly declare whether they have a financial interest in a property or properties in a residential zone in the Byron Shire district that is being commercialised on as a holiday letting property.
    If they do so have such a property, they should opt out of all decisions regarding this issue. A conflict of interest is something we cannot ignore when it comes to formulating policy regarding the vast majority of home owners that do not holiday let their houses as a part or full time business.

  5. Steve is correct, tis will not work. Rose is well meaning but…
    1. Until the practice of holiday letting in residential zones is deemed to be legal then the scheme could not start – all legal precedents and the council say no.
    2. It would be impossible to get all holiday letters to sign up as they currently have free reign to do as they like for free. Likewise most agents would not be keen as they would lose the business of those going feral.
    3. It would require a comprehensive organisation to run the show – manage the money, conduct inspections, run compliance etc. – who would pay for this?
    4. The HLO lobby will oppose this ‘cunning plan’ – see 2.

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