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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

HLO responds to victims of holiday letting (VOHL)

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The peak local holiday letting industry organisation has refuted claims from residents adversely impacted by the activity, specifically around its legality.

Doug Luke from Victims of Holiday Letting recently told The Echo, ‘Holiday letting is still illegal in Byron LGA (local government area) Residential Zones without development consent’.

Yet HLO Byron president, John Gudgeon, says it never has been illegal.

‘It was always an innominate residential use as is longterm renting’.

‘This simply means that, while it was not specifically contained in the list of definitions in the Standard Instrument Local Environment Plan (SILEP), it is very much a legal residential use.

‘Mr Luke then gives advice not to use Quiet Hotline (QHL) the noisy neighbour service which, as he says, was previously administered by HLO Byron.

‘Most people who use this service, which has operated for 15 years, are grateful that they can get a prompt response to incidents in properties registered on QHL. This includes all properties [managed] by professional property managers, but unfortunately not all independently managed.

‘Any complaints relating to unregistered properties are directed to the police on behalf of the caller. The police have not got the resources to prioritise all noise complaints, so understandably cannot give the response of QHL.

‘Quiet Hotline provides a response-and-reporting system on behalf of property managers and owners relating to non-compliant behaviour by their guests.

‘[Mr Luke’s] comments about vexatious complainants is somewhat relevant, as the system will quickly identify any abuse.

‘However, the patrol still attends and notifies the occupant that a complaint was made, whatever the circumstances.

‘For the record, there have been very few callers that have been identified as vexatious over the years. Most use the service responsibly.

‘Given that STRA has been recognised by the NSW Government as a legitimate and important contributor to the visitor economy, it is perhaps time that those who have crusaded for so long against its very existence accepted this reality’.

Mr Gudgeon also pointed to the new short-term rental accommodation (STRA) code of conduct, which was recently released by the NSW government. He says, ‘Mr Luke is quoted as saying: “The Code states that a host or the host’s authorised representative must be contactable within ordinary hours, 8am to 5pm daily”.’

Mr Gudgeon referred to the code’s section on who to contact during ordinary hours, and outside hours.

‘2.4.4: A host, or the host’s authorised representative, must be contactable within ordinary hours to manage guests, the premises, neighbourhood complaints and other issues related to use of the premises.

‘2.4.5: A host, or the host’s authorised representative, must be contactable outside ordinary hours to deal with emergencies’.

Mr Luke was contacted ut no reply was provided by deadline.

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  1. John Gudgeon has finally broken his long silence. He has been flushed out by VOHL. Absolutely amazing that he and his cohort are still peddling the same falsity … that short term holiday letting in residential zones in Byron Shire is legal and always has been.
    Reminds me of Trump. Say something often enough and they start believing it themselves.
    Obviously Gudgeon has not read the judgement in the NSW Land and Environment Court Dobrohotoff vs Bennic where Judge Pepper based her decision on NSW Planning law and found tht holiday letting is illegal and an affront to the planning laws.
    This decision still applies to Byron LEP 2014 and holiday letting will not be legal in Byron Shire until the SEPP amendment occurs on the expected date of June 1 , 2021

  2. HLO are still trotting out the same lame excuse that their illegal holiday letting activities is so good the the local economy. No mention about it being so good to their wallets, No mention about how their illegal holiday letting has disrupted lo local communities, caused the lack of rentals or affordable rentals in Byron Shire and contributed to an increase in homelessness.

    The ATO is aware that many HL owners are evading tax. Report this evasion to the ATO if suspected.



    • Yes, Harry and no mention on its impact on the legitimate holiday accommodation providers who pay their way in fees and subject themselves to industry regulation.

  3. 15 years ago there were 300 HL”s in Byron Shire. It has now grown over tenfold to about 3,500. Airbnb and John Gudgeon must bear responsibility for this increase and subsequent decline of community. John Gudgeon has always said that it is legal without producing ANY evidence except for saying that he has legal advice. The evidence to show the illegality is OVERWHELMING. Why do so many Byron Shire residents hate HL’s?


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