New Short Term Accommodation Laws in Noosa – What you need to Know!
Posted November 19, 2021
Noosa Council is starting to release details of the Local Law requirements for Short Term Accommodation. We dig deeper.
RG Strategic’s town planners have been poring over the documents to date but, while we are happy to start seeing some details, we still have questions. These new laws are not something to be taken lightly as interpreting and implementing them incorrectly can cost you your opportunity to operate short term accommodation in Noosa.
We’ve already met with council to further understand council’s requirements and it goes without saying that there’s a lot of info and it can be quite confusing.
Below we have summarised the current requirements as we have been able to document them. But until the final application form is released, we can only make an informed judgment on the requirements.
Note that a one-off application for approval is required for all short stay let properties, requiring an annual renewal while the property continues to be used for short-stay letting.
It should be noted that council separate short term accommodation and home-hosted accommodation, which includes bed and breakfast style offerings or hosting people in a spare room. An application is still required for these types of operations but some requirements are different. Find out more on council’s website. The information required for an application is very similar to STA applications with only minor omissions such as contact person information for complaints as it is expected there will be a person onsite to direct any complaint to initially.
The change with a big impost is one we highlight here. The requirement of individual operators living within 20km of the property that we raised our concern about in our original discussion of these changes is still there. This effectively means that anyone who operates STA will need to live within 20 kilometres of the premise or they will have to engage a property manager within that radius who will become the nominated contact. This will add an extra impost to the cost of operating STA.
Once approved, you will be required to display a notice showing approval at the front of the property. If you are in a complex you will need to abide by body corporate laws. The notice will need to include a 24/7 complaints hotline number and approval number.
In the first instance, all complaints will be directed to Council’s 24/7 hotline. Council will then contact the responsible person for the property. This person must attend to the complaint within 30 minutes of them receiving the complaint.
Naturally, this raises a number of additional concerns.
If there is more than one property offering STA in a complex, how will the complainant know which specific property is the cause of their complaint? How will council address the issues when they receive a complaint about a whole unit block and not an individual property? How will council address vexatious complainants who may just be protesting an approved STA operator?
There are a lot of questions yet to be answered but we have some serious concerns about how this complaints process will be administered.
Our Other Questions and Concerns
The new local laws require you to submit a site plan for the property that you are applying for. This includes the requirement to show each window and door of any adjoining residence.
To date no information has been provided as to the detail required in these plans or what council, in this instance, classifies as an adjoining residence. What detail is required in these site plans of the neighbouring properties? Will operators be required to gain access to neighbouring properties to accurately survey windows and doors and document precisely placements and measurements, or is a “mud map” acceptable?
Currently, how accurate these plans need to be and the level of detail has not been stipulated.
There’s also a requirement for full public liability insurance for an amount of at least $10 million. Now some, if not all, residential building insurance policies include a legal liability cover but in many cases, they also include exclusions if you are operating a business from the premises insured. We would advise all operators to discuss their insurance cover with their provider to ensure they have the appropriate cover required by council.
Once we see the final application form (due early next year) we can provide concrete advice and assistance when progressing an application for short term accommodation in Noosa. Until then we’ll continue to liaise with council to ensure we have the latest information to help our clients get all their ducks in a row before applications open.
What information is required to make an application for STA approval?
An application form must be completed and application fees paid*.
The following information must also be provided with the application:
- A plan of the premises
- a site plan showing the location of all buildings including any outdoor entertainment area, swimming pool or spa, vehicle parking area and the location of each window and door opening of any adjoining residence;
- a floor plan showing the use of each room and the maximum number of people to be accommodated in each bedroom.
- Confirmation the premises can be lawfully used for short stay letting
- by a development approval; or
- as accepted development or accepted development subject to requirements in Noosa Plan 2020; or
- by existing use rights; and
- complies with development approval conditions or if for existing use rights, the relevant planning scheme requirements at the time the short stay letting use commenced.
- the premises will not be used as a party house;
- the premises is lawfully constructed and classified for its use;
- a current pool safety certification has been issued by a licensed QBCC pool safety inspector; and
- a current electrical safety certification for the smoke alarms has been issued by a licensed electrical contractor.
- Contact person information
- name and telephone number of the contact person responsible for the premises (may include an individual, letting agency, property manager, security firm or the like);
- confirmation the contact person is:
- available 24 hours a day 7 days per week;
- within 20km of the premises; and
- responsible for the premises including addressing complaints and visitor queries.
*Fees have been waived until June 30, 2022
The bullets above outline the information required for the application. As discussed we await more specific detail about some of these points.
We also note that currently there are additional requirements not highlighted in the application process such as the development of a Code of Conduct for guests. You also need to make available upon request a register of complaints and a register of guests.
Short Stay and Short Term Accommodation Town Planning Consultants
We still have questions and we continue to engage with council to clarify some of the questions we have raised today and in the past. As we get closer and closer to the implementation of these new laws we can understand why many operators are concerned about meeting council’s requirements precisely.
Don’t risk your STA operation. Make sure you talk to the experts at RG Strategic. We’ll handle all facets of your application and approval.
The RG Strategic town planning team have invested the time to understand the new laws and how they need to be interpreted and applied. If you have any concerns about your application, ensuring you meet requirements so you can continue your operation, talk to us today. We are here to help.
Feature Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash
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