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Short Stay Accommodation – new proposed rules and management imposts on operators in Noosa Shire
Posted 09 March 2021
Noosa Council considers changes to draft Short Stay Letting local laws
At its meeting on 9 March 2021, Noosa Shire Council’s Planning and Environment Committee considered changes to draft local laws governing the operation of short term or short stay accommodation in Noosa Shire.
We outline some of the changes and their possible impact – positive and negative – on operators and what we can do to mitigate these negative changes.
The changes result from the first round of public consultation on local laws proposed in late 2020 to regulate short stay letting in Noosa Shire. Read our article on the initial changes here.
The public consultation brought several issues to light, which Council has considered and addressed in the proposed changes.
There are some good changes and, as always, some changes we think are detrimental to operators and the industry.
The good for Short Stay Accommodation Operators
The proposed changes remove several imposts that seemed too restrictive in our eyes.
- The requirement for body corporate approval of short term letting has been removed.
- Planning scheme matters that local law cannot regulate (like occupancy and hours of use of outdoor areas) have been removed.
- Exemptions for properties using onsite letting agents have been removed, helping to level the playing field.
- among other removals and changes
In amongst the good are some, we feel, too restrictive provisions. We outline some below.
Provision for Contact Person to reside within 20 minutes of the premises
Probably the most restrictive new inclusion in the draft local law is the requirement for the “defined contact” to be contactable 24/7 and reside within 20 minutes of the premises being offered as short stay accommodation.
This appears more a move to restrict operations of investors who may not have a local presence. These operators still employ local services like cleaners and maintenance trades, but may not live in the immediate vicinity. Naturally, we are confident that existing letting agents are eager to fill this vacuum of services providing 24-hour contact for remote operators.
However, we are also concerned that some operators who do live locally will fall into this restriction. Try getting to Noosa Heads from Kin Kin, for instance, in under 20 minutes.
Requirement for a “Code of Conduct”
Operators of short term letting premises will be required to develop a code of conduct for guest behaviour before the operator’s application is considered and approved. This needs to include items like:
- vehicle storage
- onsite use of premises like pools, spas, gyms, BBQ areas, decks and balconies
- expectations of behaviour while on premises
- management of pets
- waste management
- safety and cleanliness requirements
This code of conduct needs to be developed specifically for the premises in question and must be provided to guests on arrival.
Home Hosted accommodation now included
Activities requiring approval now include home hosted accommodation. While we understand the desire for approval requirements for commercial operations, home hosted accommodation can include operations not commercial in nature.
The draft local law defines home hosted accommodation as where the person in charge of the premises resides on those premises while the occupant uses the premises.
This can include services that charge a fee, such as Airbnb, but also those services that do not charge a fee for the accommodation provided, like CouchSurfing.com.
Other administrative requirements
The local laws outline a range of other administrative requirements operators are required to develop or provide before being approved. These items include:
- The provision of contact person details and signage at the front of relevant properties (does your property need this signage?).
- Ensuring operations do not affect existing residents’ amenity.
- Provision for guests to enter the property without causing a disturbance to other residents.
- Adequate provision for parking (what is adequate for your property?).
- Requirements for public liability insurance.
- Maintenance of a guest register available for Council inspection.
- Maintenace of a complaints register available for Council inspection.
Our concern for short stay letting operators
Our concern is that these new restrictive measures are a knee-jerk reaction to some particular fervent submissions to the first round of public consultation.
Council cites “lack of regulation and complaint management” and “negative residential amenity impacts” as justifications for these new additional requirements.
We don’t believe that residential amenity is greatly impacted due to short stay accommodation “creating a higher intensity and turnover of guests” as mentioned in the report.
If you have lived in unit developments, you’ll know that some of these issues are not particular to short term letting. Residents are often also the cause and reason for these types of complaints.
A cursory review of the proposed local law highlights how detrimental some of these changes may be to operators. While we also recognise there will be some benefits to the community as a whole, we need to balance these benefits with some of the proposed regulations’ restrictiveness.
What can you do?
If you are an operator of short stay accommodation or letting options in Noosa Shire and these proposed changes will impact you, you need to prepare a comprehensive submission to Council.
Council is looking at opening up the draft local laws for public comment and consultation for four weeks in late March or early April.
You must have your submission to Council in that timeframe to have your voice heard.
With decades of experience in local laws, RG Strategic can assist with your submission research and preparation. You need to ensure it is a considered and supported opinion outlining your concerns and the reasons for those concerns.
Contact us today to book a free 30 minutes review of how these proposed local laws could affect your operation – whether you offer single or multiple Airbnb premises, couch surfing or other forms of short term accommodation premises. We can help you determine how you will be impacted and how you can mitigate or meet the new requirements. Click here to book your appointment.