Roundup: Rolling around in search of an answer


Some days you’re the Pinball Wizard, others you are just the ball. This week I find myself bouncing between a number of organisations on behalf of all you Flatchatters who are worried about short-term letting.

For a start, as promised HERE, I asked the Attorney General’s office if by-laws effectively banning short-term letting by supporting their “residential only” council zoning were valid.

A nice young chap said he thought this was a Planning issue (sigh) but he would check with a colleague.  She said that even though the AG’s office has responsibility for the Tribunal, she was pretty sure this as a Fair Trading matter (groan).

Someone from the department of Innovation and Better Regulation, the Fair Trading mothership, said that strata schemes should get independent legal advice about their by-laws (harrumph).

Given that I haven’t found two strata lawyers with the same opinion on this, I wondered where I would get sound, reliable, independent advice on a point of law. Back to the Attorney-General’s office? Ehhhh, no, they don’t give legal advice.

Fair Trading also seemed to say that only local councils could enforce their zoning restrictions, at their on discretion, so I contacted City of Sydney – the council with the most apartments in Australia – to find out if it was true (as I have heard) that they have an unofficial moratorium on pursuing illegal short-term lets.

I’m also trying to find out if previous NCAT decisions can be used as a precedent in subsequent cases or do you have to start from scratch every time?

So, as I write this on Monday afternoon, I’m not just trying to join the dots – I’m trying to find out what the dots are.  And I have to say it’s not looking good.

The government is about to issue its discussion paper on holiday letting but online agencies won’t be waiting for that to work their way into legislation.

The key word in all this is “disruption”. They keep telling us it’s a good thing. Maybe we need to show the disruptors that we can play that game too. Tilt!

While all that was going on a fresh crop of questions and answers sprouted in the Flat Chat garden.

  • What is a reasonable reason for refusing a renovation request? THAT’S HERE.
  • When the Act says you can be fined so many penalty units for different offences, what exactly is the penalty unit worth? THAT’S HERE.
  • Two units have garages, two units don’t, but they all pay the same levies. How do you fix it? THAT’S HERE.
  • What’s the best way to keep residents informed and engaged – emails, a website or good old-fashioned print-outs? THAT’S HERE.
  • Does a tenant have to be there to let tradies in attend to owners corp repairs? THAT’S HERE.

There is a heap of other questions and answers on the Flat Chat Forum (and you can get right into it by following the links on the right).

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