Reading Sonya Brien’s letter (19 October) just now has brought back traumatic memories of living next door to a seven-bedroom holiday let that she managed in Byron ten years ago. We were renting off a dear friend with our newborn daughter. I was running a small painting business working 5–6 long hard days, our small cottage was three metres from the holiday let.
Every Friday I would dread returning home to see how many cars were parked outside, even buses blocking our driveway. The house was rented every weekend to bucks’ parties, hens’ nights, wedding groups, football teams etc. I can’t even begin to describe how loud it was. There were strippers doing their thing and the accompanying howls, even a used condom flung into our yard.
I begged Sonya to come and experience what we were going through and she refused time after time. She changed the policies to limit noise only after I threatened legal action and made a point of shutting down the noise on my own terms. Our first year with our beautiful daughter was partly destroyed by that holiday let.
It is not just the fact that short term letting destroys access to homes for locals – it often destroys the neighbourhood itself. It’s so sad that people who ‘grew up here’ can’t see the damage their businesses do to the fabric of the community they supposedly care so much about.
I still work hard every day; we were lucky enough to get out of Byron and managed to build a house in Mullum. We even have a gorgeous studio that I am proud to say has been long-term accommodation for six years to fantastic young people finding their feet in this area. We could rent it out on Airbnb but I choose to work for a living instead.