Councillors’ holiday-let arguments based on false data

Doug Luke, coordinator,Victims Of Holiday Letting. 

Victims Of Holiday Letting would like to correct misleading information provided by two councillors in Echonetdaily articles.

In Echonetdaily of January 24, Cr Richardson stated that ‘Council’s legal challenges for holiday letting compliance had resulted in a high cost to ratepayers. Two years and $300,000 later…’ Cr Spooner, on March 1, stated, ‘The last council decided to stop chasing people through the courts in regards to the use of properties for holiday letting because it was costing a heap of money.’

This prompted a fact check in response to these councillors’ assertions. A question on notice was asked during public access at the February 2 Council meeting. An answer was provided by Council staff.

Council staff responded that there has been only one Land & Environment Court (LEC) legal action against illegal holiday letting. In January 2013 Council won against a Ewingsdale holiday let and issued an order for the holiday let to cease short-term renting. There have been no other LEC actions against illegal holiday lets in the two years prior to January 2013.

This has been the only case of LEC legal action against illegal holiday letting pursued by Council. Legal costs were awarded in Council’s favour. Council is taking action to recover the $43,200 debt.

It appears that Crs Richardson and Spooner have an inaccurate view of Council’s past legal challenges to illegal holiday letting.

It is irresponsible for politicians to argue a case based on false data and for local politicians to use an excuse of the high cost of legal action (based on inaccuracies) to justify the lack of Council action in the LEC against illegal holiday letting. Please reinstate legal action.


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