Council cracks down on unauthorised Casuarina holiday homes
TWEED Shire Council is cracking down on short-term holiday lets in Casuarina by taking legal action against several unauthorised operators.
For months council has been debating how to handle the spike in unauthorised short-term holiday lets listed on online booking sites, like the online AirBnB and Stayz operators, across the shire.
While the NSW State Government is currently developing a broader policy on the matter, council's planning and regulation director Vince Connell said seven unauthorised short-term holiday let operations in Causarina area are being investigated.
"Our compliance officers are reporting a widespread lack of knowledge among property owners on the current statutory planning restrictions on short-term holiday lets and the relevant approvals processes they need to follow.”
The Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 precludes short-term holiday accommodation in specific residential zones including R1 - General Residential, R2 - Low Density Residential, R5 - Large Lot Residential, B1 - Neighbourhood Centre, B5 - Business Development, B7 - Business Park, and IN1 - General Industrial zone.
Short-term holiday lets require a Development Application approval in R3 - Medium Density Residential, B2 - Local Centre, B3 - Commercial Core, and B4 - Mixed Use zones.
Council's decision to deter short-term holiday letting follows a similar decision by Byron Shire Council last year to proceed with legal action against home-owners listing their properties on short-term rental accommodation platforms, like Stayz or AirBnB.
Stayz Head of Government Relations Eacham Curry said a better solution would be creating centralised property registration, tougher code of conduct for home-owners and an industry funded body to ensure compliance with rules of registration including insurance and safety standards.
"There is still no evidence of any property which is being targeted by the council being listed with Stayz, however we remain willing and ready to work with the Council on measures that will improve the sector without imposing unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens on the sector,” Mr Curry said.
Mr Curry said he was concerned about how mum and dad home-owners would be affected if council continues to take legal action.
"Litigious legal action, punitive regulation and extra taxes will only drive up the cost of short-term rental accommodation and send tourism dollars packing to other holiday destinations across Australia,” Mr Curry concluded.
But Mr Connell said Tweed Shire Council would continue to maintain "the principals of The Local Environmental Plan 2014 through Compliance enforcement action”.
"Unapproved short-term holiday lets can adversely affect neighbourhood amenity through increased noise, traffic volumes and demand for infrastructure and reduced privacy. Thus the restrictions on short-term holiday lets in some zones reflect the needs of the broader community Council is compelled to represent,” Mr Connell said.
Property owners seeking to establish a short-term holiday let should first check on council's current planning controls by visiting www.tweed.nsw.gov.au.