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We Live Here

11 Aug 2016

The We Live Here movement has developed a draft policy on short-stays that will be presented to all forms of government.

We want to help legislators by providing solutions.

Our policy document addresses, in the context of the “sharing economy”, the ongoing issues of unregulated short-stay, hotel-style accommodation in residential apartment buildings that have not been, and are not being, adequately addressed by the Victorian Government.

For example, Airbnb was established as an online booking platform for home owners wishing to rent out a room in their own home. No thought has been given to how it would operate and be regulated in apartment buildings.

Draft legislation to amend the Owners Corporation Act, introduced into Parliament on May 24 fails to address a range of issues.

The previous Minister for Consumer Affairs based the draft legislation on the findings of the “Independent” Panel on short-stays, which was compromised by the conflict of interest of some panel members. The draft legislation has the very limited scope of giving powers to owners’ corporations to deal with unruly short-term guests but allows the unregulated industry to continue unchecked. A level playing field is needed.

The We Live Here draft policy on regulating the short-stay industry including Airbnb and other ‘sharing economy’ business practices in residential buildings is:

  • Non-resident letting out an entire apartment: Minimum of 30 days in line with standard-form residential tenancy agreements and Commonwealth tax legislation
  • Occupier letting out an entire apartment while they travel elsewhere: Minimum of 30 days in line with residential tenancy agreements
  • Occupier letting out part of an apartment that they occupy: Provided that the occupier is living in the property throughout the guest stay – no minimum length of stay.
  • Registration and advertising: All short-stay properties must be registered with the local council and a registration number obtained.  Fines should apply to any person letting an apartment for short-stays without a valid registration. Fines must also apply to online platforms that advertise properties for short-stay accommodation without a valid registration. Online listings must display a valid registration number that applies to the listing.

We welcome your feed-back.

Minister must consult with the community

We are hoping that the new Minister for Consumer Affairs will be more aware of the issues and problems facing residents dealing with short-stays in residential buildings. We want the minister to consult with the We Live Here movement. The issues go far beyond that of noisy guests. Currently the short-stay industry is totally unregulated. We want the minister to meet to discuss all the issues affecting our buildings with the view to, not only rethinking the Bill, but introducing legislation to regulate the industry in line with the hotel and accommodation industry.

Residents are concerned that safety and security of their buildings is being compromised by unregulated short-stays.

Maintenance costs are ballooning due to the increased wear and tear on buildings. Movement of laundry, cleaning gear and suitcases accelerate wear and tear to the floors, walls, doors and lifts. Short-stay operators do not pay anything extra towards maintenance – other owners foot the bill.

Western Distributor

In our column last month we raised concerns of residents in regards to the Western Distributor project and the impact it could have on inner city communities in respect of increased traffic volume through local streets. We invited and welcomed your input with specific details about how it will affect your community.

Concerns raised by residents emailing us include:

  • The project is at odds with City of Melbourne's plans for transport in the city;
  • The new road will encourage more drivers and direct more cars into the inner suburbs and the CBD;
  • Large increase in traffic noise;
  • Public amenity and safety concerns due to increased numbers of cars; and
  • Demand for more car parking and storage.

We will be reporting developments on the issue in forthcoming columns. Please keep emailing in your concerns.

City of Melbourne elections

The Melbourne City council elections are coming up in October. The elections are conducted by postal vote. All residents living in the City of Melbourne are entitled to vote even if you’re not an Australian citizen.

At present voting rules are heavily weighted towards the business community with a business vote worth two to residents one. We encourage all residents who are not on the roll to register and have your say.

We will provide more information about pro-resident candidates closer to the time. We also hope some of you might consider standing for council.

For further information please telephone the Elections Helpline on 1300 735 427 or visit the City of Melbourne website at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/elections

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