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