LIMITING short-stay rentals on the Morning Peninsula to a maximum of two people a bedroom would be “overkill” and unlikely to reduce problems, the owner of an established holiday rental said last week.
Christine Delamore, who said she had never had problems with tenants at her Dromana holiday house, said a “few bad apples” at other rentals were tarnishing the industry.
Many holiday rentals have three beds a bedroom – such as a queen size for the parents and bunk beds for young people, she said.
“It’s good to have regulations and high standards … but to limit bedrooms to two people is not going to work.”
Ms Delamore was responding to moves by Mornington Peninsula Shire to lesson the “public nuisance” problems being caused by party houses.
Complaints about poor behaviour by short-term renters are on the rise, with the shire receiving 87 since November.
Online letting agency Stayz said that while it would “work closely with the shire to ensure fit-for-purpose regulation for short-term rental accommodation on the peninsula” it was not in favour of “draconian restrictions”.
Corporate and government affairs director Jordan Condo said Stayz “supports a registration process that would require all owners to register to a central system before they can list a property on a platform”.
“Owners would be required to adhere to a strict code of conduct which would differ, depending on the type of accommodation and its location,” he said.
“If the code of conduct were to be breached by an owner they would be prevented listing their property on any platform. Applying consequences to property owners that are supported and enforced by platforms is the best way to manage amenity issues while supporting local jobs in regional areas – not draconian restrictions.”
Mr Condo said that, last year, short-term rentals generated $113.5 million in what he termed “economic uplift” and supported up to 843 jobs to the Mornington Peninsula.
He said 90,570 room nights were booked in short-term rental accommodation on the peninsula last year, “generating $22.7 million in revenue for hosts”.
Environment protection manager John Rankine told the shire’s 25 July council meeting that reducing the number of occupants to two a bedroom was “pivotal, as fewer occupants [per house] produce less noise, less rubbish and less parking congestion”.
“Residents in our communities are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their property and the operation of these businesses in residential areas, when they are a nuisance, needs to be dealt with.”
An example of a “bad apple” cited by council officers was a landlord advertising a five-bedroom house to accommodate 30 people or more.
“These will be targeted initially [by the shire] to reduce the advertised accommodation capacity back to two persons per bedroom,” the officer’s report stated.
Shire officers have been given authority to “enforce the provisions of relevant legislation to address complaints of anti-social behaviour from short-term accommodation”.
There is also talk of a forum where those affected by “party houses” could get together to “develop a co-operative approach aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour from short term accommodation occupants”.
Shire officers will now liaise with police, tourism representatives, and short term accommodation providers, such as Stayz, Airbnb and local real estate agents, to better control the industry.
This comes after months of complaints by residents about loud music, bad language, yelling and anti-social behaviour late into the night, as well as parking congestion and domestic rubbish dumped by out-of-towners in their normally quiet streets.
Owners will be told they need a planning permit to run an accommodation business in a residential area, and that it must operate with “no unreasonable noise or nuisance”.
“While these complaints represent a very small minority of the overall short stay accommodation on the peninsula, the impact on neighbours has been significant and has become a priority for council,” the mayor Cr Bev Colomb said.
“To help prevent these problems from reoccurring, an important next step is for us to start strongly engaging with key stakeholders on this issue.
“Together we will work to develop a cooperative approach to managing the problem and promote responsible behaviour at short-stay accommodation.”
Owners needed to “take greater responsibility for the behaviour of their occupants”.