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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Permanent holiday rentals targeted by lobby group

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A lobby group wanting to rein in permanent holiday rentals in residential areas have challenged Council to act on what they say are examples in Byron Bay. 

Trish Burt, convenor from Neighbours Not Strangers, provided a list of properties to Echonetdaily and Council which appear to be rented out full time as holiday lets in residential areas.

Burt says, ‘Byron Shire Council can/should simply subpoena the booking records from the owner/Airbnb/Stayz/Booking.com’.

When asked to comment, Council staff replied, ‘We will be writing to Trish in response to her email’.

A spokesperson from NSW Fair Trading told Echonetdaily, ‘The Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (the Act) and the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014 (the Regulation) create and regulate the licensing framework for the real estate and property services sector’.

‘Real estate agents who advertise and manage properties for the sole purpose of short-term holiday letting are not automatically in breach of the Act or the Regulation simply based on this action.

‘The owner or occupier of a property has a responsibility to ensure that the property is not used for any purpose that is prohibited by local council planning regulations and other laws, including ensuring the property is not occupied by more people than are allowed, and that the use of the property does not create a nuisance or hazard to other property owners or occupiers.’

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  1. Land Use legislation is governed by the State, implemented and enforced by Local Government authorities. It is incumbent on legislators that the power afforded them under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 is adequate and that their power and responsibility to enforce legislation is exercised.

    A council has the statutory authorilty and obligation to enforce compiance. Individual residents do not have any statutory authority or legal standing to prove zoning breaches.

    The advice from Fair Trading does not take into account a Real Estate Agent’s breach of Federal Building Codes and possible/probable disability access legislation. It is also at odds with the assurance given by a former NSW State Minister for Fair Trading, as per NSW Parliamentary Hansard Records. The advice also seems completely at odds with a long line of judicial judgments, plus it leaves neighbouring residents in residential Strata and residential zones without any recourse.

    Council and Fair Trading’s inaction also provides no relief to those holding Title Deeds and Section 149 Certificates on residential dwellings. Accordingly, these Certificates may therefore be held to be fales and misleading, given that Councils are refusing to enforce residential zoning.

    According to my information, Sabrina B** has 305 homes listed on Airbnb. Lisa P** has 202 homes listed on Airbnb and she’s advertising for more.

    When will Residential Zoning be enforced?

  2. I love renting my house on airbnb, great opportunity for my family to go on holidays and earn some $$. we have even used a booking agent for some of these bookings. we never had any issues with the tenants and all our neighbours seem happy for us to benefit from this opportunity.

    • Short term holiday letting in residential zones under the current Byron LEP is an illegal and prohibited activity. The LNP State government’s legislation has not been gazetted. You are breaking the law.

    • Fine for you, Byron Home Owner. But what happens to the fabric of the Byron community when every other Byron home owner follows your example? Out-of-control holiday letting spells the death knell for the Byron that people once came to chill in. Now they come to pose.

      Paradise is fast being paved and the bypass proceeds apace, bulldozing all opposition; could we at least have the trade-off of an adequate parking lot, d’ya think? (Sing it, Joni!)

    • You say all your neighbours “seem happy”. I’m curious as to whether you have approached and asked your neighbours. I have lived next door to a STHL in Byron Bay for over 7 years. There have been repeated and continual disturbances to my amenity, ability to sleep, ability to relax in my home…the list goes on and on. I decided to leave work prematurely because I could no longer function in the workplace because I was constantly exhausted as the property has a minimum 80% occupancy and my bedroom is directly opposite the outside deck and pool which is constantly occupied by partying holiday makers. My income is now non existent except for living on what I have saved and I’ll live on this until eligible for the pension. I have had to sacrifice my income, so a solicitor from Melbournes wife can reap the money from the rental of her holiday house. They holiday in this property once or twice per annum. They refuse to believe the property they own attracts twats who sit on the deck all night getting drunk, swear and screech out at the top of their voices. They refuse to believe the people go into the pool repeatedly throughout the night waking us with the clanging of the gate and the racket they make. They refuse to believe the Schoolies they accomodate in the property year in year out swear and yell and fight at the top of the voice from the minute they get up until they collapse at some stage so drunk because they are in Byron Bay to party and consume as much alcohol as humanly possible in one week. They call their customers their guests and have even said “ we can’t understand you saying how bad it is, whenever we are here it seems so quiet”….Aaaargh. I assure you, the impact of living next to a STHL is soul destroying. There is nothing put in place in this town to protect the residents. The Noisy Neighbour Hotline is ineffective, the Police don’t want to know about it, as they feel it is a management problem. The Real Estate agents refuse to take a tough stand on House Rules and Enforcing a Code of Conduct because they think it’s a minefield. The owners are mostly in denial and if you let your entire property out and go away, you are oblivious to the effect the people staying at the property may be having on your neighbours. I don’t believe STHL will ever be completely reigned in, but there definitely needs to be enforcement, registration and a strict code of conduct. Unless you are on the premises while the property has customers insitue, you should have to lodge a DA the same as any other business owner because, as you admitted, you are generating an income and running a business in a residential area.

  3. We don’t have an Airbnb however when we travel we stay in Airbnb accommodation and it’s very enjoyable.We really appreciate the care and attention to detail our hosts provide and the prices are a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel or motel
    I think Trish Burt needs to get a life and start travelling and enjoy life instead of meddling in other people’s lives

    • Burn After, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The recent Southern Cross University research survey of over 1,000 residents shows that 70% know that short term holiday letting negatively impacts the residential amenity of Byron residents.
      You may behave yourself and respect ‘neighbour’s residential amenity when you stay in the illegal Airbnb’s, but there are many who do not.
      Your derogatory remarks about Trish Burt are completely unfounded. She has a great life, travels and would be more worldly wise than you. She does not meddle in other peoples lives but is trying to protect the residential amenity of so many in Australia. Damage caused by Airbnb is world wide.Are you aware that there are many governments in the world trying to rein in Airbnb?
      I hope you get an out of control Airbnb as your neighbor. Then you will understand about “getting a life”.

    • Burn After, your arrogant comment (‘I think Trish Burt needs to get a life and start travelling and enjoy life instead of meddling in other people’s lives’) is put forward [instead of] an intelligent and feasible argument. It is as unintelligent as the comments of holiday let owners who say that if you don’t like illegal holiday letting then leave the area.

  4. There is a long history of wanting time to stand still in Byron shire. Should the hippies have been the last invaders imposing culture change? The 90s backpackers? The hipsters now? Who has the right to close the gates? Sensible discussion and regulation to ensure good behaviour, yes. But isn’t that akin to, or a new evolution of, the council mediating neighbourly disputes about fence lines and pesky dogs/horses/goats in years gone by? Airbnb isn’t the bogeyman, not is it perfect. Demand is high; we benefit from the global interest and $ brought in and the cultural wealth that it can support. We said no to major hotels in the area and low-rise residential stays aren’t exactly new, just much more accessible. Rentals have always been tight in Byron shire due to structural factors in the local economy (relatively low avg incomes and not enough development). So perhaps rather than a head in sand frump against progress, propose some solutions you will put your $ into. I’m putting my retirement money into building a home in my home shire. While I earn my living outside the shire I’ll rent that home in the most logical way I can, and visit regularly to stay connected to the place I love. In the process I’m supporting local builders, local businesses, and offering my home to whoever can/will rent it. I make no apologies for needing to balance rational economics with the love of my community. What are you doing to create value and opportunity for yourself and others?

    • Under the current Byron LEP, short term holiday letting is an illegal and prohibited activity in residential zones unless it has DA approval. None have this unless it is an approved B and B operation.

      Goonengerry Gal, I presume from what you say, that you live out of the Shire. If you STRA, then what contingency plan do you have for the inevitable disruption to the residential amenity of neighbours.? They will probably hate you when you eventually settle full time.

    • Ocean Shores has a large number of holiday lets. Look at the latest figures from Inside Airbnb. STRA are everywhere in Byron Shire. They have spread like a cancer.


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