Syd Craythorn, Byron Bay.
‘Holiday letting’ seems to be a term used mainly by the real estate industry, not the planning law fraternity. To my knowledge there is no definition of ‘holiday letting’ in either the state or local planning instruments.
Those asserting that ‘holiday letting’ is illegal appear to rely largely on the Land and Environment Court (NSWLEC) case of Dobrohotoff v Bennic, where Justice Pepper found that a dwelling said to be used for short term holiday rentals was in fact used for a separate and independent planning use that required development consent.
I read this case to be about a particular dwelling, not about all dwellings providing short- or long-term accommodation. I believe her honour was correct in her finding, that the large house in question was not being used principally as a dwelling, but principally as a venue for rowdy ‘bucks and hens’ nights, which included ‘topless entertainers and escorts’. Her honour explained the shades of grey between a dwelling used permanently or part time by families, by friends, or even businesses providing holiday opportunities for staff, all of which are ‘residential’ uses; but in the case in question a line had been crossed and the principle use was no longer a residential use.
It would be interesting to know how many of the 1500 local dwellings that are claimed to be offering short term accommodation, about half the dwellings from Ewingsdale to Broken Head, fell outside the interpretation of a residential use, as described in the above LEC case.
So, to address what are probably a small number of poorly managed rental properties, we appear to be proposing to remove the means by which many locals provide themselves with affordable housing!
I for one would be pleased to learn that the Council chose not to waste money on frivolous legal proceedings, but if there is someone out there who feels otherwise, they should not be restrained by a lack of authority; any person has the right under Section 123 of the EP&A Act to redress a breach. Lodge your papers with the court, set aside $25K, and wait a year or more for your hearing date!