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Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

‘Victims’ support return of holiday-let precinct plan

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Byron mayor Simon Richardson's favoured holiday letting strategy – creating precincts – was abandoned as there was 'no appetite' for it. Image Byron Shire Council
Byron mayor Simon Richardson’s favoured holiday letting strategy – creating precincts – was abandoned as he said there was ‘no appetite’ for it. Image Byron Shire Council

A residents’ group affected by holiday letting have rebuffed comments by Greens mayor Simon Richardson over their view as to how best to handle the issue.

In last week’s article, Byron’s mayor shares his thoughts on holiday letting, mayor Richardson said, ‘The precinct model was the fairest model I thought – but there was no appetite by the holiday-let organisation, the victims of holiday let or by the state government.’

But Victims Of Holiday Letting (VOHL) said that is ‘not quite correct.’

VOHL co-ordinator Doug Luke says his group were ‘hungry for precincts or zones.’

‘Our original preferred position was and remains for Byron Shire Council to take illegal holiday lets to court including The Land and Environment Court, (LEC).

‘VOHL would still prefer this as it demonstrates Council’s legal responsibility and duty of care towards residents. Our numerous submissions and letters have supported this.’

‘A majority of councillors on the previous Council voted not to take legal action.

‘There have been a number of LEC judgments, including the landmark Dobrohotoff v Bennic (Terrigal case) in May 2013, that have shown holiday letting is illegal in residential zones. NSW LEC case law is clear and consistent: mixing short-term letting with permanent residential occupants is “fundamentally incompatible.”

Unsupportive govt

Luke says, ‘When legal action did not eventuate, VOHL then examined the concept of precincts or zones for holiday letting.

‘This had also been put forward by Council under [former Greens mayor] Jan Barham.

‘Unfortunately, the NSW DPE would not accept this and suggested the “open model” plan where holiday letting is allowed in any zone where a residence is legal.

‘VOHL has consistently supported Byron Shire Council in developing a policy of registration and regulation that puts the onus on owners/managers to avoid and/or resolve problems with holiday lets that continue to adversely affect neighbouring residents. VOHL would welcome support from state government following the latest reshuffle.

‘VOHL is grateful that the mayor and his “new” Council are prepared to act in the best interests of residents and offer them some overdue protection from rampant short-term letting, including Airbnb.’

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  1. Jan Barham was clear on this issue: http://www.janbarham.org.au/2014/12/holiday-letting-eroding-community/

    Simon Richardson was very clear on the issue in 2014: “Airbnb to blame for Byron’s rental woes”. https://www.echo.net.au/2014/05/air-bnb-blame-byrons-rental-woes-mayor/

    There is many a term one could attribute to Simon Richardson’s failure to act on this issue. Let’s leave it to a judge from the NSW Land and Environment Court:

    “…the harm caused to the environment is not limited to the undermining of the planning regime. The adverse impact on the amenity and wellbeing of the (Respondents) has been, as the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates, severe. By leaving it to the Court to determine this important issue, the council, by its inaction, has, in my opinion, failed to fulfill its core functions and has failed its constituents.”



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