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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Holiday letters should have insurance

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I don’t always agree with Fast Buck$ but agree with the general premise of his argument concerning the problems holiday lets owners have in obtaining landlord insurance and the current illegality of holiday letting (Echo Letters Nov 18).

Several precedent court cases have shown this illegality in NSW residential areas. The most recent was Dobrohotoff vs Bennic in the Land and Environment Court (May 2013). This prompted a number of coastal councils to develop policies and change their LEP to allow holiday letting.

Gosford, Wyong, Kiama and Eurobodalla have already had their policies gazetted in the NSW Parliament. Byron’s policy is on public exhibition until December 4. Compared with other councils the policy is comprehensive, but still does not satisfactorily protect residential amenity and requires amendment.

Provision of public liability insurance to protect tenants of holiday lets is more important than landlords insurance. If a holiday let tenant is injured in the property, it is possible that the owner could be sued if there was no public liability insurance. Any responsible holiday let owner would already have this insurance. If they pay tax then it is a deduction.

It will become mandatory for all holiday let owners to follow the Holiday Rental Code of Conduct. On page 14 in this Code the following regulation 2.3 states “Insurance: Owners and managers should hold appropriate insurance including comprehensive landlords’ and public liability insurance (as appropriate).’ Therefore, it will become mandatory for holiday let owners to hold this insurance. Many would be willing to take a risk and Council would not be aware that owners are not fulfilling their obligation.

Council should require all holiday let owners, before finalisation of registration, to produce evidence that they have purchased public liability insurance. Evidence to show annual renewal of insurance should also be produced to renew registration. Council should withdraw registration if this is not undertaken. Such a positive move would enhance consumer confidence in responsible tourism management in Byron Shire.

David Wallace, Suffolk Park

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  1. Brilliant idea. If this was achieved then it would be a first for Australia. I doubt that our Council would have the foresight to do this.

  2. Dear David

    An ex resident of Suffolk Park for 14 years to another Suffolk Park Resident, I now living on the beautiful Island of Mallorca Spain, where I have experience in overseeing Villas with Pools for Holiday rental and tourism for the past 29 years, this included ensuring owners of villas and properties they rent, have arranged Public Liability Insurance coverage.

    I totally back you up and agree with your comments 100% on this issue, in case an accident client slips on the floor, trips and dont forget it is not uncommon clients claim an accident they never had, to pay for another holiday next year!!! Until one has experienced and seen it all, it results in only common sense that an owner should cover his back and himself adequately.

    Also, not only should the Owner of the Villa House have their own coverage, it should be informed to the person renting the property time of reserving the property, it is the clients responsibility to have taken out their own Holiday Insurance, if not, the owner of the property should inform they can be refused entry to the premises if they do not hold a holiday insurance and show proof of the policy prior to their arrival, this is how it works here in Mallorca and is compulsory, its the only way to operate for peace of mind for all.

    A property owner would not dream or dare rent their property if they did not have public liability, I speak from first hand experience of dealing with clients claims, such as baby drowning in an owners swimming pool, serious fall, breaking two legs and an arm slipping on the marble floors, the person they claimed from was the OWNER OF THE PROPERTY of course!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hope this information is of assistance from Mallorca.

    Yours sincerely

    Jenny Douglas


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