New legislation has passed both houses of the Victorian state government that could spell trouble for apartment owners who short-term let out their properties on services like Airbnb.
The new legislation will place sole responsibility for the actions of any unruly guests with the owner of the property they’re in.
On the evening of 8 August, the Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Act 2018 passed both houses of the Victorian parliament which can greatly affect apartment owners who let out their property on short-term letting websites such as Airbnb.
The new legislation allows for the owner of one apartment to make a complaint about short-term letting guests in another who are:
- Making excessive amounts of noise;
- Interfering with owners or guests of other lots;
- Creating hazards to health and safety in common areas;
- Preventing owners or other guests of owners access to common areas; and
- Damaging any aspect of the apartment complex.
Owners who are not happy with the actions of guests of a short-term letted apartment can submit their complaint in writing to the owners corporation, who then must agree if action should be taken or not.
If action is taken, the owner of the property the short-term letted guests were staying in is notified and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can be involved to rectify the matter if the owner of the problem apartment is uncompliant.
The actions VCAT can then take include:
- Preventing the owner of an apartment short-term letting out their property if three different complaints are made within a 24-month period;
- Charging the owner of the apartment a loss of amenity compensation order, which can be up to $2,000 per complaint
It is not just the owner who can be deemed at fault, but the guests who are staying in the short-term letted apartment, so under the legislation, both owner and guests are just as at fault as the other.
This legislation passing both houses follows a reform of short-term letting laws in NSW, which allowed for owners corporation to prevent property owners short-term letting out their property if they do not live in it, capping the number of days a property can be short-term letted to 180 in the Greater Sydney area, and allowing for councils outside of Greater Sydney to reduce the number of days property can be short-term let out to a maximum of 180 days, as well as bringing in a code of conduct and a two-strike policy.
During the announcement of the reforms, the minister for innovation and better regulation Matt Kean called them “the toughest laws in the country” in relation to short-term letting.