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Good Guys, Bad Guys

I’ve been taken to task by a couple of readers who challenge two of my assertions: that short-term rentals are a bad thing; and that investor owners are generally worse for buildings that owner occupiers.

They both have a point. Your lifestyle as an owner occupier is likely to be severely compromised if the apartment next to yours has a different tenant every week or has sweaty backpackers occupying every square inch of floor space with their sleeping bags.

However, there are decent people who want to stay in well-managed buildings for a few weeks or a couple of months at a time specifically because they want the peace and quiet that you also crave. And when friends and family from out of town or overseas come to visit, it’s great to have an apartment in your building where they can stay. However, strictly speaking, they would be classed as short term rentals.

Perhaps there should be a mechanism whereby short-term renters specifically could be evicted at the first sign of trouble – no appeal, no stuffing around with tenancy tribunals. If the rental contract is for less than, say one month, all you need is a corroborated complaint and they’re gone. Problem solved.

On the other matter, a couple of readers wrote to say that investor owners are often the only people who do any work in strata buildings, for the simple reason that it makes no kind of business sense to neglect your property. Point taken.

There are plenty of investor owners who take an active and positive interest in the running of their buildings – perhaps there just aren’t enough. We’ve been inundated with emails about investors who collect rent on their properties but refuse to pass on their levies.

One reader said that in her block, the parasitical owners of the five biggest and most expensive apartments have always had tenants but have never paid and won’t pay their levies, creating terrible problems for the finances in the block as a whole. The properties are “owned by trusts owned by other trusts” so the Executive Committee doesn’t know who to sue for their unpaid dues.

A simple solution would see a Magistrates Court order that the rents be paid directly to the Owners Corporation till the unpaid levies are cleared. Is anyone at the Office of Fair Trading listening?

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