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Byron Shire
April 10, 2021

Why VOHL supports holiday-let regulation

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Doug Luke, co-ordinator, VOHL

I refer to Jenny Coman’s recent letter Victims of holiday letting should consider class action.

Much as we love you, Jenny, and your great contribution to our community we do feel that you have misrepresented the position taken by Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL).

VOHL has stated in recent letters to the editor and a media release that we are supporting the proposed Development Control Plan (DCP) only. We are making submissions amending and adding more protection to neighbours of holiday lets. Many of the regulations in the DCP on public exhibition have been researched from Australian councils that have existing holiday letting policies. These are working.

VOHL strongly opposes the open model plan where holiday letting will be allowed anywhere a residence is found. VOHL supports zones/precincts and continues to present the case for a reduction in their size and to have boundaries to areas of existing concentration of holiday lets and to exclusion areas where there is a very small number of holiday lets. This would protect a majority of R2 Residential Zones. We believe it is on record that Jenny supported and devised precincts when she was a councillor.

VOHL initially urged council to prosecute illegal holiday lets, which was boosted by a Land and Environment Court decision. Instead, council decided to develop a holiday letting strategy in line with other NSW coastal councils.

If council’s strategy is not strong and enforced by additional resources including 24/7 ranger presence neither VOHL nor the community will accept it.

 

 


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4 COMMENTS

  1. hmm. I thought that when you first started your cause that you were flat-out opposed to holiday lets anywhere in Byron. Wasn’t that the case? I thought you were hard-lined about enforcing what the LEP law reads? If i’m right, then why the change in your platform? If i’m wrong, then i’m sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Just a thought, but if no one wants to go after the wealthy landlords, then why not make it illegal to advertise or promote an illegal holiday let. Go after the greedy local holiday let individuals and organizations that take a booking fee and walk away. Cut off the head of the snake – so to speak. Perhaps that would be an easier solution to enforce. It might also gut-punch a certain taunting family (in an earlier letter to the Echo months ago) whose scoffed at the system and our incompetent council while they’ve lined their greedy and selfish pockets.

  2. Thank you for clarifying VOHL’s position. This approach sounds very sensible/realistic + most importantly, likely to effectively work in controlling holiday letting businesses + protecting long term residents rights. Jenny Coman + Co recommendations are totally ridiculous/unrealistic.

  3. It is essential to have strong regulations in place to control the excesses of holiday letting. Just as important is the resources to ensure compliance. Extra council rangers available 24/7 and extra compliance staff to cope with the non compliance will be essential. Council will have to apply for extra funding. Increase in the number of fines will assist.
    I am cynical about whether a strong DCP will be able to control the many who are intent on partying. Combined with alcohol intoxication and other substance abuse disruption to neighbourhood amenity is bound to occur. At least it may force owners to act rather than the neighbours being kept awake all night.
    Being woken or kept awake by the holiday lets occupants party mode has happened many times. When my neighbours or I complain to the owner, the explanation given is they slipped passed our vetting system. With permanent rental tenants they should produce references from previous tenancies and be interviewed by the owner or agent. With holiday lets the only vetting appears to be production of a valid credit card.
    There is never any apologies from the owner to the neighbours for disruption to their life. Others have said similar. Sheer ignorance and arrogance from the holiday let owners and managers.

  4. Mark, I am not a member of VOHL but have followed the holiday letting saga as I have experienced the negative aspects. I also have a knowledge of the law.
    In the Land and Environment Court decision Dobrohotoff vs Bennic May, 2013, Justice Pepper blasted Gosford Council for its failure to control the situation and to regulate. This prompted many councils, including Byron, to start to develop their own policy.
    Any legal action at the present time is unlikely to succeed and would be a waste of money. The most likely outcome would be a reserving of the decision based on an outcome from council’s effort to develop a policy. If this fails as it did a few years ago, then legal action is a possibility.
    At the present time the best approach would be to lobby council for strong regulations.

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