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Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Holiday letting a free for all

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Louise Andrews, Byron Bay

I agree with Mike Hartley  and Jenny Coman (Byron Shire Echo 25 November) regarding Byron Council’sl proposed holiday letting strategy.

There is already a law in place to regulate holiday letting that the Council has chosen not to enforce. How then, can we have any confidence that Council will enforce their new proposed controls?

And yes, Jenny, why is VOHL (Victims of Holiday Letting) urging us to accept open slather on holiday letting after campaigning against it for so long?

Under the new holiday letting free-for-all we are told that a ‘three strikes and you’re out’  policy will exist.

I’d like to know upon whom is the onus to prove that there has been a disturbance from a holiday let property, and what constitutes a disturbance?

And how are you, the beleaguered sleep deprived resident, supposed to prove it? What if (and why not?) the holiday let tenant denies all? And fights back? Our council has a proven track record of doing nothing in this regard so we can expect doing nothing will continue to be done.

Council does have a duty of care to its ratepayers and the resident community of the shire.

There already exists a clear planning policy that prohibits tourist accommodation in residential zones. The Council, as the consent authority, has no discretion in this matter but is legally required to enforce the Building Code of Australia. Why doesn’t it?



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  1. Louise, I suggest that you read the STHA Strategy (Holiday Letting ) that is on public exhibition. It is not 3 strikes and you are out, but 2 substantiated complaints and registration is withdrawn. Yes, it will be up to the neighbours to provide substantiation in the form of witness statements, police noise abatement orders etc. Council can impose a $1500 fine based on this which definitely would be substantiation. I suggest that all neighbours of holiday lets keep meticulous diaries if there are any problems and report these to council compliance.
    In the media VOHL has made it clear that it supports zones or precincts, exactly the same as Jenny Coman and Jan Barham did earlier. They are strongly opposed to the open model plan where holiday letting is allowed anywhere. Legal action at this stage would be ineffective based on the current actions of council. Unfortunately, holiday letting won’t go away.
    Well regulated holiday lets where there is a Development Control Plan that will protect neighbours is essential. Please make a submission before December 8 expressing your view.

  2. Have you noticed there has been no letters or media releases from the holiday letting groups in regards to regulating? They are being very clever..
    They are keeping quiet ,allowing the “no ” holiday letting or “regulated ” holiday groups to fight amongst themselves . This has been happening for close to 15 years with no result.
    Whilst ever there is fighting and no middle ground then council will just throw their “arms in the air ” in despair.
    I must congratulate VOHL for working on an agreeable solution . Keep fighting this “regulated holiday letting” and WE WILL be left with what we have had for the last 15 years ,NOTHING.

    • Geoff, I’m sorry but the holiday letting groups are neither clever nor are they very intelligent. It beggars belief that after all the legal precedents including one 18 months ago, some of them still believe and say that holiday letting is legal.
      They know that if they tell their untruths then the community is going to castigate them. I wonder how do many of them hold up their heads in the community. If they have any ethics then they probably feel like pariahs. They associate with with other like minded individuals who probably say to those who have a different opinion of holiday letting “if you don’t like it just leave, go to somewhere like Lismore” Ignorance at its best!
      You call it fighting amongst the different groups, I call it a sign of a healthy democracy that people can express different opinions.
      I agree that well regulated and controlled holiday letting is needed. Council needs to get rid of the shonky operators.

      • I completely agree with what you said, Charlie. Interestingly, some friends who are aware of the holiday letting problem were having a quiet afternoon drink at the Byron RSL when they recognised a few familiar faces from the local HLO arriving for their AGM. They said that the attendance wasn’t great for an organisation that has promoted itself in the past. This suggests that the membership is pretty small or there is a lot of absentee holiday let owners who live out of the shire.
        When relaying this info they commented that holiday letting has been responsible for damaging the peace, quiet and general amenity of neighbourhoods over a long period of time.
        I am aware of all the arguments justifying holiday letting such as increased tourism, creation of jobs, great for the local economy, etc. but nothing is ever said by the holiday lets mob about what holiday letting has done to the neighbours. Who wants a holiday let near them? No one!

      • Not only are they not clever or intelligent, but not very able at telling the truth. The line of “holiday letting is legal” was spun for years. Gullible holiday let owners actually believed this, If they had done a little research, this would show that this definitely was not the case and holiday letting is still illegal.
        Until recently. the holiday lets mob spun the lie that there had been no growth in holiday letting and the number of holiday lets was about 400. Council this year said that there was at least 900, double the figure. This can be checked by looking at online booking sites.
        When will this mob face the truth and realise that they all need to do something about the problem that they created. Get rid of the shonks and carpetbaggers for a start might help.


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