ONE in four complaints about noise made to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council relate to so-called “party houses”.
Upset neighbours are demanding tighter regulations for short-stay rentals and want owners held to account for their tenants’ transgressions.
The shire’s environment protection manager John Rankine says those affected should call the police.
If the problem is regular the shire will contact property owners and check sound levels, record complaints, collect witness statements, make inspections and possibly prosecute.
The Melbourne-based We Live Here group is pushing for tougher rules on the letting of holiday houses over social media (“Tougher rules bid for party houses” The News 13/6/17).
In some cases, party-goers have ruined residents’ weekends with late-night noise and alcohol-fuelled aggression.
Neighbours of one Rye holiday house – rented out for a reported $800 a night several times last year – say noisy parties and inebriated partygoers often make their weekends a nightmare.
The practise is expected to grow as more people flock to online short-stay rental sites, such as Airbnb, Stayz, and Booking.com.
The shire’s environment protection manager John Rankine said party noise was a difficult issue to deal with as it was sporadic and varied in frequency and duration. “Complaints of noise in Mt Eliza are currently being investigated, with a report from one neighbour indicating that the problem has reduced,” he said.
Mr Rankine recommends that residents call the police to respond immediately to late night party noise.
“Police are well trained to deal with noise originating from crowds, poor behaviour and potentially dangerous situations,” he said.
If the problem occurs regularly he said the shire would contact the owner of the property. Officers will then investigate and gather evidence through the use a sound level meter, noise diaries, witness statements, site inspections and police reports.
This evidence helps determine if further formal action can be taken, including issuing an improvement notice or a prohibition notice to stop the noise under the Environment Protection Act 1970 or the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
“In many cases the investigation process and negotiations with the owner of the property has addressed the problem,” he said.
Residents living near a Rosebud Airbnb “party house” – who do not want to be named – said they had met with neighbours to form a group to develop an action plan to protect their peace and quiet.
“We going to go to the council to start asking questions and approach our local member [of parliament] for support,” one resident said.
“One particular party house is causing us grief – we are up to pussy’s bow with it.
“I am exhausted and aggravated; we do see the [non-resident] owners there from time to time and we call them when we are disturbed. This is especially in summer.”
A resident living near another “party house” said, “We have a big problem with our neighbours letting their house next door and we are on acreage.
“They live in Melbourne and don’t care. We know so many others in the same boat.”