THE lucrative rental of short-stay “party houses” on the Mornington Peninsula will be tightly regulated if a new residents’ group gets its way.
The We Live Here group is pushing for tougher rules on the letting of holiday houses over social media to hordes of party-goers who ruin neighbours’ 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 – said noisy parties and inebriated partygoers were making 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.
Acting Sergeant Warren Morgan, of Rosebud police, said young people’s parties at short-stay rentals – especially over holiday weekends – generated the “bulk of noise complaints” from neighbours.
The We Live Here group’s Marshall Delves said members were hoping a Legislative Council inquiry into the Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-Stay Accommodation) Bill 2016 would “level the playing field”.
The council’s environment and planning committee reportedly considers the bill “inadequate and unfair to many parties – including residents” – and has recommended changes to the legislation.
The committee also recommends the government consider giving owners’ corporations the power to regulate short-stays in their own buildings, and work with the police to examine safety issues.
“It’s an amenity thing that affects your neighbours,” Mr Delves said.
“If you own a house or an apartment and you want to rent out a room on Airbnb that’s fine, but if you want to rent out a whole house over a weekend you should be registered and regulated.
“Every house on Airbnb should be regulated.”
While the group is made up mainly of bodies corporate in apartment blocks and unit developments, Mr Delves said it was not city focused and had freestanding property owners as members.
He said 25 per cent of Melbourne residents lived in strata communities – including a growing number on the Mornington Peninsula – which were often made available as short-stay rentals.
“We have almost 200 buildings across the state sharing our concerns and that figure will grow,” he said.
Another problem is that short-stay operators making money from the “party houses” are taking money from registered hotels, guest houses and B&Bs which paid rates and taxes and were governed by strict guidelines.
“Residents right across Victoria are growing increasingly frustrated and it’s time we found a solution that puts everyone on a level playing field,” Mr Delves said.