Appeal Tribunal Upholds A By-Law Banning Short-Term Letting

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Home and Garden

Short-term letting has become a popular source of housing accommodation after it was revealed to be an appealing alternative to booking hotels and hostels for those that are travelling or on holiday. The premise behind short-term letting is to offer the comforts of a home away from home. They have also proven to be a popular source of income for the property owners.

Short-term letting is not problem-free. It has garnered its fair share of controversies while presenting several problems that cannot be overlooked. It has also proven to have some impact on the norms that are established within the community. Some of the symptoms of this problem include:

Trash and Littering

With the frequent change of residents within short-term rental units, some short-term renters may not follow the norms of the community with regard to the disposal of waste and the general upkeep of the community. This can cause permanent residents to have to deal with periods where their living areas, especially in the common spaces, look less than ideal.

Noise

When residents are accustomed to living in an area with certain specific levels of noise around them, especially if agreed upon beforehand, having to deal constantly with loud, unruly short-term tenants can be jarring. They may not always adhere to the rules regarding noise levels. This can lead to constantly disgruntled neighbours and frequent complaints.

With set etiquette and an established way of living, well functioning strata management will have established an ideal environment for its residents. Short-term tenants, therefore, can be a disruption to all, no matter if they are model tenants. This is especially true when it comes to the security of being familiar with all those living around you. It would not be possible to get to know a multitude of short-term tenants at all times.

Why A By-Law?

With regard to national law, strata management is allowed to establish rules that govern the community to maintain a certain living standard. These by-laws, however, are not to be discriminatory. They should not uphold one group of people while restricting another. Everyone residing within the building should be catered to equally, including short-term tenants, in this case. This caveat also covers restrictions to the leasing of units within the strata.

A property owner arguing just this when the body corporate initially ratified the by-law banning short-term letting filed a lawsuit. After arguments were presented, the suit was upheld, and the body corporate informed that their by-law could not apply. The decision was appealed, with the argument that short-term letting does not provide the ability for the tenants to be wholly vested in upholding the rules and tenets of the community. A judge presented this reasoning as the reason why the appeal was successful and the by-law was allowed to remain.

Based on this successful appeal and with a closer inspection of the reasoning that the magistrate applied in granting the appeal, body corporate services in Melbourne are to take note. This case has provided a cautious victory to body corporate service providers where they are now reassured of their ability to set by-laws that most comprehensively cater to their communities’ needs. They should, nevertheless, be careful to wield this power tactfully and with an eye only toward the greater good.

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