Party flats ban overturned

The war against party flats took a turn for the worse last week when the Supreme Court in Melbourne overturned a decision by the Victorian Buildings Appeals Board that short-term rentals were illegal in residential apartment blocks.

The BAB ruling had said that if you were going to rent out apartments like hotel rooms, you needed the same levels of fire safety precaution and signage as hotels.

But then the manager of several units in a  building in Docklands (dubbed ‘Partygate’ by residents sick of the weekend invasions of drunks) appealed, saying that the BAB ruling was invalid.

Despite arguments from Melbourne city planners, the court agreed, overturning the ruling.

Here in NSW, the lobbyists for the short-term rental industry will claim this as a victory for traditional Australian family holidays.

However, long-suffering neighbours know it’s all too often really about marauding schoolies, backpackers, football fans and bucks nights invading their homes.

Sydney City Council refers to agents revving up owners to turn their residential flats into virtual hotels as “re-zoning by stealth”.  Pity the poor long-term resident who finds him or herself outvoted by absentee landlords lured by the fast-buck  agents promoting illegal rentals.

It’s back to the drawing board for Melbourne’s city council while in Brisbane apparently it’s got so bad that some owner-residents are being driven out of their buildings by on-site managers irritated that there are flats in their buildings from which they don’t earn any rental commission

How selfish of us to want peace and quiet in our homes when there are owners who need to make a quick buck from their investment units.

As we have said many times in this column, if there is a such a screaming need for short-term accommodation in our cities, then let the developers build specific buildings for the fly-by-night tenants.

Short-term lets are warts on the face of residential apartment living and it’s time the government and local councils got together with the CTTT and burned them off.

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