News

Airbnb haters growing in number, could impact Coast

The photo of a Noosa home listed on Airbnb.
The photo of a Noosa home listed on Airbnb.

SICK of Airbnb renters clogging up the complex swimming pool or making noise in your neighbour's house?

Well, you may have to suck it up as a Brisbane lawyer has advised not much can be done to stop this booming market.

Expert in body corporate law, Frank Higginson from Hynes Legal in Brisbane, said the "sad reality for the permanent residents is that there is absolutely nothing they can do to prevent short-term visitors".

"Any by-law that a body corporate committee wants that tries to ban or restrict use of facilities will be completely worthless," he said.

"Body corporates just do not have the right under law to make those rules, let alone enforce them."

The discontent with sites like Airbnb and Stayz, which allow people to advertise their home, unit or room for short-term rentals, appears to be growing nationwide.

Already petitions have been formed, lobbying for tougher laws to stop the infiltration of short-term holiday rentals with seemingly few checks and balances.

And sites such as www.neighboursnotstrangers.com and www.welivehere.net are gaining popularity.

Mr Higgensen expected it would only be a matter of time before the Sunshine Coast became involved.

Do you love Airbnb or hate it?

This poll ended on 31 January 2017.

Love it. - 42%

Hate it. - 43%

It depends if you're using it or a neighbour of someone letting out their home. - 13%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Melbourne forum, Welivehere, was a lobby movement focussed on "generating legislative change to protect owners and long-term residents living in high-density areas".

Both the Victorian and New South Wales government s have been looking at reform to help regulate the burgeoning industry, which had more than 83,000 homes listed on it nationwide in November.

Mr Higginson said many body corporate committees had been trying to block out Airbnb type of rentals by introducing key systems with different levels of access in an attempt to lock out short-term residents from communal areas.

"Owners who rent out their apartments to short term tenants have also been threatened with legal action. But any action would be thrown out of court," Mr Higginson said.

"It's the same reason that buildings can't ban schoolies or corporate rentals. Once a resident is inside their front door, there is very little a body corporate can do."

Mr Higginson said apartment owners should concentrate their efforts on local government, which had legislative oversight of the issue.

"Unless local government steps in, nothing can happen," he said.

"How would you even enforce a ban on short-term stays? Have the police kick in the door because a resident saw someone they don't know go into an apartment with a boogie board under their arm?"

Mr Higginson encouraged committees to seek legal advice before embarking on any by-law campaign that could end up costing them dearly in the long run.

The Daily has approached the Sunshine Coast Council for comment on what rules it has, if any, governing Airbnd and Stayz type of rentals.

Topics:  airbnb body corporate frank higginson holiday accommodation tourism



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