Short-stay regulation reaches common ground

A survey conducted by WA Apartment Advocacy of short-stay property owners and their neighbours over the last two months, has found a genuine desire from both groups, for short-stay regulation.

The survey of 130 parties (of which 21% were short-stay owners) found that 60% of owners were concerned about factors like short-stay guests holding parties, excessive noise (70%) and guests being disrespectful (56%).

The neighbours of these short-stay properties also echoed these concerns, and in addition, that guests might not abide by council by-laws (66%).

As such, 42% of the short stay owners and 70% of the neighbours (affected by these properties) agreed that the WA short-stay sector should be regulated.

Ms Reece, Director of WA Apartment Advocacy believes that short-stay accommodation needs to be addressed in strata by-laws as a mandatory condition.

“If you do not have a by-law for short-stay in your development then you are open to potential issues with no means of recourse,” Ms Reece said.

“With 65% of buyers in the WA market being owner-occupier, it is important that the development sector is more proactive in relation to inserting by-laws that prevent short-stay, or otherwise ensure that the buyers are aware that no such by-law exists.

“Most buyers are wanting a private lifestyle and the intrusion of short-stay can detract from that.”

But Ms Reece also warned Council of Owners (COO) against introducing by-laws that were overly restrictive.

“I saw a recent by-law which prohibited any occupancy less than three months.  This means that if someone was going away and wanted a relative to house-sit, and it was less than three months, then this resident would be in breach of the by-law,” Ms Reece said.

“COOs need to be clear what it is that they wish to restrict before creating associated by-laws and I would strongly advise they gain legal advice in advance.”

The research also found that 30% of the neighbours had made a complaint about a short-stay property, with 67% reporting to the strata manager, 43% to the local council and 29% to the owner.

Ms Reece stated that while disruption was welcome in the property sector, there was also a need to protect the interests of buyers.

“It is appropriate to provide all the details about a property and its occupancy so that buyers can make informed decisions. This degree of transparency would be a good move for the property sector overall.”