Short term leasing of residential apartments is an exceptionally controversial topic within strata communities.
Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore acknowledged that “…short term rentals in strata schemes can adversely affect residential amenity and owners’ costs.” She highlighted the most prevalent issues as noise from ever changing residents who are always on holiday, damage to common property from frequent movement of luggage, overcrowding and increased use of common facilities and concerns about neighbourhood security.
Many newer strata developments have caveats placed on their buildings to limit the number of people allowed per bedroom and prohibit short-term rentals; however there is currently no effective method of enforcement that has proven successful.
Lot owners argue that holiday makers have no knowledge or interest in by-laws and are carless when it comes to damage or following rules and say that most public nuisance and offensive noise incidents are caused by short term renters.
Although countless owners share these views, there are many who see the benefits in short term letting. A respondent to the NSW Strata Laws Online Forum believes that lot owners should be allowed to use their lots as they see fit, provided they don’t cause disturbance to other lot owners and with the approval of the Owners Corporation.
If you are having any issues with a neighbour regarding short term letting your best course of action is to get hold of your local council’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) to see what zone designation you are in. If you are zoned as ‘residential only’, then all short-term letting is strictly prohibited. A by-law may also be introduced at an AGM in order to protect residents and show future buyers the status of the strata scheme.
Here is an example of such a by-law:
“Pursuant to the provisions and regulations contained in XYZ Council’s Local Environment Plan 2012, lot owners are prohibited from engaging in short term accommodation (including, but not limited to operating as a serviced apartment or holiday unit), with such activities being specifically prohibited by council regulation within XYZ zone.”