The Andrews Labor Government will introduce new laws to help stamp out bad behaviour when it comes to short stay accommodation in Victoria.
Under the reforms, for the first time apartment owners could be liable for any damage, noise or loss of amenity caused by their guests.
VCAT would also be given new powers to award compensation of up to $2000 to neighbours, and ban short stay apartments which are repeatedly used for unruly parties.
Guests could face fines of up to $1100 for a range of conduct breaches, including:
creating unreasonable noise or behaving badly
causing a health, safety or security hazard
damaging common property
obstructing a resident from the using their property.
Short stay apartment owners may be ordered to pay neighbours’ compensation and any damage caused by their guests to common property.
The government acknowledges that the majority of short stay accommodation is used responsibly in Victoria and these reforms are designed to reduce the number of isolated incidents of bad behaviour.
The new laws will encourage short stay apartment owners to take more steps, such as bonds and screening practices, to ensure their apartments are not used for unruly parties.
In addition, Consumer Affairs Victoria will help conciliate in short stay disputes that cannot be resolved through the owners corporations dispute resolution processes.
The changes are part of the Andrews Labor Government’s election commitment to protect apartment residents from disruption and damage to their properties caused by rouge short stay visitors.
The announcement follows months of consultation with stakeholders and industry on recommendations made by an independent panel into short stay accommodation in Victoria.
The panel’s report estimated short stay accommodation generates around $792 million in revenue and more than $160 million in wages in Victoria. It represents a multi-billion dollar industry and supports more than 64,000 jobs.
There are an estimated 170,000 short stay properties in Victoria representing 27 per cent of the national total.
Nationally, the panel found the industry supported $31.3 billion in economic activity and 238,000 jobs.
Amendments to the Owners Corporations Act 2006 will be introduced to Parliament on Tuesday, 24 May.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett
“Our short stay industry is a major tourism drawcard and helps to support thousands of jobs. We want to make sure we are supporting this important industry while protecting the rights of residents.”
“These reforms will help residents to enjoy their homes by reducing disruption caused by some rogue short stay visitors.”
“This is a common sense approach which protects residents’ rights and supports our booming shared economy which attracts tourists from all over the world.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“Through the work of the independent panel and further consultation, we are pleased to introduce a suite of reforms that will make a positive impact on the lives of residents across Victoria.”
“These changes will make sure our policy and legislation keeps pace with the changing ways people live and use their homes.”