Short-stay ban invalid, Vic rules

A Victorian man has won the right to short let his Melbourne apartment, despite a ban imposed by the building’s owners corporation.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) ruled Zheng Sheng Lim, who co-owns an apartment in the Imperial building at Sovereign Point Court in Doncaster, was not obliged to follow building-wide rules banning short-term stays.

The corporation admitted to the authority that rules it had registered at the Victorian Titles Office to stop short-term rentals were “probably invalid”.

VCAT found that the body had no right to deactivate a security key fob for the building, or to restrict tenant access to the building, except in emergencies.

Airbnb Australian head of public policy Brent Thomas welcomed the decision but said: “It is disappointing this had to go to VCAT in the first place. People shouldn’t have to get a lawyer or go to court to simply protect their property rights.”

The case reignites the debate around newly-introduced Victorian short-let restrictions, which have been condemned as too lax by leading industry bodies including Tourism Accommodation Australia.

They give VCAT the power to prevent the renting out of short-stay apartments used for unruly parties and to fine guests and hosts between $1000-2000 for anti-social behaviour; but not to limit the number of days apartments are rented out on Airbnb-style platforms.

“The legislation is not worth the paper it is written on,” Tom Bacon, CEO of Strata Title Lawyers, told the Australian Financial Review when the laws were announced back in June.

“These regulations are the lightest feather of a touch, and do not provide owners corporations with any meaningful way of regulating the issues associated with short-term stays. I would not advise owners corporations to use these regulations; it would be a costly exercise and a waste of time.”

In Sydney, laws passed last year limit to 180 the number of days properties can be short let, and give strata corporations the power to ban Airbnb in their buildings.

Victoria’s representative body for owners’ corporations is hoping similar reforms, scheduled for debate in state parliament in June, will provide equivalent powers.

Strata Community Australia Victorian general manager Rob Beck told the Herald Sun: “At the moment, essentially, owners corporations can’t do anything to regulate short stays in terms of creating rules.

“But we would certainly hope the government might in the future consider laws like in Sydney.”

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x