A body corporate committee has refused a Queensland apartment owner’s request to install a key safe for Airbnb guests in fear of “opening the floodgates” for similar requests from other apartment owners.
Archers the Strata Professionals said the Queensland Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management found the body corporate committee to have “failed to act reasonably” in this refusal.
According to Archers partner Grant Mifsud, the body corporate committee opposed the unit owner’s application to install a key safe on their apartment door as two other owners had already installed “unsightly” key safes without approval, which the committee would be attempting to have removed.
“In its submission to the commissioner, the body corporate was concerned that allowing the applicant’s key safe would open the floodgates to similar requests from other owners,” he said.
However, despite finding against the body corporate in its adjudication, the office of the commissioner said the apartment owner is still required to seek approval for the key safe and provide specific details about the proposed device and where it would be installed.
“Any other owner wishing to install a key safe on common property, or who has already done so, should apply for approval for their key safe,” the office of the commissioner said in its adjudication.
“The committee would also be entitled to identify and consider alternative key safe products and installation locations from those proposed by the applicant.”
Mr Mifsud said the recent adjudication order highlights the need for strata schemes to carefully consider implementation of by-laws in response to regulation of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz.
“Our advice for body corporates and strata community residents, when considering Airbnb, is to be across their local council regulations for short-term rentals, which can vary greatly from region to region, and also be cautious when trying to enforce any by-laws that can only regulate use of common property,” he said.
In addition, he said body corporates are limited in their powers to prohibit Airbnb, which in Queensland is governed by more than 70 different sets of local government zoning laws.
“Airbnb can be a vexed issue with strata communities as some owners are keen to take advantage of short-term rentals to gain additional income, while others are concerned about potential problems such as security risks and noise from late-night parties,” Mr Mifsud said.
“Some jurisdictions are relaxed about short-term letting, while others impose expensive planning approval requirements. In another area, a zoning system has been proposed that would ban home sharing of entire properties from some parts of the council area.”
As such, he encouraged property owners to seek professional advice on improving security in apartment complexes that now have regular short-term letting previously not in place.
“Body corporates can make buildings more secure by having on-site security, surveillance cameras and restricting entry and lift access fobs,” he said.