The problems all of holiday letting: have your say

The STRA (Short Term Rental Accommodation) document is on exhibition until December 4. This can be found at:

Victims Of Holiday Letting (VOHL) is currently receiving feedback about increased problems with holiday letting in all areas but particularly Brunswick Heads.

Neighbours of STRA are unhappy. Some are surrounded by holiday lets and have their residential amenity damaged.

Some are complaining that there is a lack of permanent rental stock.

Holiday lets are dramatically increasing in number and there are now 1,100 in Byron Shire. This is an increase of 20 per cent since 2013.

Airbnb accommodation is also a problem both with disturbance and the decrease in availability of rooms to rent permanently. We have also seen instances of tents in backyards being rented at $80 per night.

VOHL’s position is:

1.      There are too many STRA and the number should be reduced or capped. We are hopeful that regulation will return some STRA to permanent rental.

2. The division of registration between Exempt and DA required is arbitrary. The Exempt limit of 90 days is open to abuse. Who checks on the number of days let? Will it be left to neighbours to monitor this?

3. Bedroom limit is three or less and VOHL accepts two persons per bedroom. Maximum number of occupants should be limited to six. We don’t accept children under five years of age being excluded from the count. We propose that only children under two years age should be excluded.

4. Larger holiday lets of four or more bedrooms should have a maximum number of 10 occupants of any age. The regulation in the original proposed policy should be restored.

3. All cars are to be parked within the boundaries of properties. There will be no parking on footpaths, road reserves or the public roads themselves.

4. Garbage bins must not be put out any earlier than 24 hours before collection day and must be collected from the street no later than 24 hours after collection day.

5. We consider it essential that the owner/manager attend to complaints at the property in person, within 30 minutes. This also includes solving the problem.

We do not accept the complaint being attended by security services such as provided by the HLO Noisy Neighbours Hotline.

We are constantly informed that this is ineffective and inefficient, and, many neighbours say it is a waste of time calling this hotline and that they will not use it.

Some have seen the security service stop in front of the holiday let, roll down the window and drive off without getting out of the car.

If they had gone to the back of the property they would have heard the offensive noise or observed inappropriate behaviour.

6. We do not agree with the ‘substantiated complaint’ process. Neighbours tell us that they feel intimidated both by holiday let owners and their tenants and are wary of complaining.

VOHL believes that a written complaint to Council be taken as substantiated. A complaint will have substance by its very nature. Many neighbours will still feel afraid to write.

We are told that neighbours suffer retribution after complaining. The HLO’s constant bleating about ‘vexatious complaints’ is ridiculous.

Wyong Council’s holiday letting policy accepts written complaints and this has already been gazetted by the NSW Parliament.

7. We are asking that the maximum number of occupants allowed be displayed on the sign outside. If STRA follow the NSW DPE endorsed Holiday Rental Code of Conduct then this number is required at time of registration.

8. External noise from spas and pools must not be heard between 8pm and 8am. There must be no noise audible to neighbouring properties between 10pm and 8am.

9. There must be no more than 6 visitors at the STRA between 8am to 10pm. No visitors after 10pm.

10. There must be only one category of registration and all properties must be subject to Development Approval.

11. All STRA are clearly run as businesses and must pay the Byron Shire commercial rate.

12. All STRA to comply with all health and safety requirements which apply to B & B’s. e.g. hard-wired smoke detectors in all rooms, fire blankets and extinguishers, exit signs and emergency lighting.

13.  All STRA to have appropriate landlord insurance and public liability insurance. There must be proof of renewal of insurance to be presented with annual renewal of registration.

Please let me know of any additional requirements that you believe are necessary for submission.

Doug Luke, Victims Of Holiday Letting

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