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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Holiday let reality

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John Gudgeon, president of the Holiday Letting Organisation Byron, can’t face the reality that holiday letting in Byron Shire is still illegal. (13 January) Mr Gudgeon can’t understand why his legal advice submitted to Byron Council has been completely disregarded. Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL) reminds Mr Gudgeon that Council’s and VOHL’s lawyers have found that his flawed legal advice is without substance. If Mr Gudgeon had any faith in his legal advice he would have wanted it tested in a law court.

Mr Gudgeon states that the benchmark Dobrohotoff v Bennic (2013) Land and Environment Court (LEC) case is ‘totally misunderstood’. It is Mr Gudgeon who has totally misunderstood the judgement and should thoroughly read it. 

He incorrectly states that the case was presided over by a magistrate. Justice Rachel Pepper was the presiding LEC Judge and is not a magistrate. The Class 4 case required much more supporting evidence compared to a normal Class1 case.

Mr Gudgeon mentions that the judge had a holiday home. Justice Pepper declared her holiday home and that she occasionally rented it. Both parties in the case did not have any issues with this. Being a responsible and law-abiding citizen, probably Justice Pepper’s holiday home was in a zone where visitor and tourist accommodation was allowed and she probably obtained development consent from her Council.

Mr Gudgeon states ‘the owners (Ms Bennic) were advertising and renting for parties and functions, etc’. This is completely false and no statement of this kind was made in the judgement.

Ms Bennic advertised on Stayz, which had a no party/function policy, which enabled her to advertise there. She stated that she attempted to use the voluntary Holiday Rental Code of Conduct, used by Stayz, to control the behaviour of the occupants. This was completely unsuccessful, as is the case with many other holiday lets. Mr Gudgeon was a member of the committee that developed the Code.

Poor behaviour by holiday let occupants, resulting in continuing residential amenity damage prompted the Dobrohotoff’s to seek redress in the LEC. The judgement, that holiday letting is illegal was based on planning law.

John Gudgeon has completely ignored Justice Pepper’s statements. 

She stated in her judgement:

1. The use of the holiday let is prohibited as it was not for the use of a dwelling house as required in a residential zone.

2. The use of the holiday let breached the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1976.

3. The use of the holiday let ultimately was an affront to the planning laws of NSW.

Holiday letting without development consent is still an illegal and prohibited activity in residential zones in Byron Shire.  

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