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.’