Au­dit on Unau­tho­rised Hol­i­day Homes

In ac­cor­dance with Coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tion of 12 Septem­ber 2018, the Shire of Au­gusta Mar­garet River will soon com­mence a fo­cussed com­pli­ance cam­paign in re­la­tion to dwellings be­ing used as short stay ac­com­mo­da­tion with­out de­vel­op­ment ap­proval.

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News -

What is a ‘hol­i­day house’?

‘Hol­i­day House’ in the con­text of the Shire’s lo­cal plan­ning scheme and pol­icy is a dwelling or res­i­den­tial unit used to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for pe­ri­ods of less than 3 months. It does not in­clude dwellings that only pro­vide hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion for their owner or dwellings where there is a per­ma­nent oc­cu­pant who lets out two or less bed­rooms.

Hol­i­day Houses are com­monly re­ferred to as ‘Airbnbs’, but not all hol­i­day houses are listed on Airbnb and not all the list­ings on Airbnb are nec­es­sar­ily hol­i­day houses.

Why is the Shire tak­ing this ac­tion?

• Re­tain­ing af­ford­able long term hous­ing - There is a short­age of long term af­ford­able hous­ing in the Shire and this be­comes par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent dur­ing pe­ri­ods of great­est tourist ac­tiv­ity. When dwellings are taken out of the rental pool and made avail­able on a short terms ba­sis, sup­ply is re­duced and prices in­crease. The Shires pol­icy pro­vides a bal­ance be­tween ad­e­quate pro­vi­sion of both long and short terms rentals. Com­pli­ance ac­tion against non com­pli­ant op­er­a­tors en­sures the Shire’s pol­icy ob­jec­tives can be met.

• Pre­serv­ing res­i­den­tial amenity – Lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and neigh­bour­hoods, es­pe­cially those that are new or still es­tab­lish­ing, need long-term res­i­dents to func­tion. Peo­ple can’t form re­la­tion­ships with their neigh­bours if they change ev­ery week. Un­der­stand­ably, tourists be­have dif­fer­ently from per­ma­nent res­i­dents as they seek to en­joy our re­gion and in do­ing so, can un­in­ten­tion­ally cre­ate off­site im­pacts such as noise and ve­hi­cle move­ments out­side of which might nor­mally be ex­pected in res­i­den­tial ar­eas. The Shire seek to main­tain har­mo­nious res­i­den­tial set­tle­ments by only al­low­ing hol­i­day homes in cer­tain ar­eas. Non-com­pli­ant op­er­a­tors dis­rupt res­i­den­tial amenity by ig­nor­ing th­ese rules.

• Pro­tect­ing home own­ers – Proper in­sur­ance is a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion for hol­i­day home op­er­a­tors to pro­tect own­ers against the costs as­so­ci­ated with an un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dent. How would an in­sur­ance claim be af­fected if the hol­i­day home did not have the re­quired Shire ap­provals?

• Ap­ply­ing rea­son­able con­trols – Ap­proved hol­i­day home op­er­a­tors are sub­ject to con­di­tions which pro­vide a bench­mark for lev­els of man­age­ment, fire pro­tec­tion and safety. This pro­vides a mech­a­nism for the Shire to take ac­tion in the case that (for ex­am­ple) is­sues are raised by a neigh­bour. Non com­pli­ant op­er­a­tors are not sub­ject to any rules and hence are more likely to dis­rupt the quite en­joy­ment of their neigh­bours.

• An eq­ui­table con­tri­bu­tion to our com­mu­nity – Ap­proved hol­i­day home own­ers pay ad­di­tional Shire rates re­flec­tive of the en­hanced ca­pac­ity of a hol­i­day home to gen­er­ate in­come. Shire rates go to­wards pro­vid­ing and main­tain­ing all of the nec­es­sary fa­cil­i­ties pro­vided by the Shire for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike. Non­com­pli­ant op­er­a­tors place a greater fi­nan­cial bur­den on all ratepay­ers by not mak­ing an eq­ui­table con­tri­bu­tion.

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