Short term letting operations have caused havoc for owners corporations, even at the best of times. During COVID-19 however, short term letting posed (yes past tense) a greater risk to the health and safety of members and residents in apartment buildings.
Relief is here!
On 8 July 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services released a document entitled Restricted Activity Directions, that includes reference to accommodation facilities that are now prohibited in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
Section 11 of the document specifically states that “A person who owns, controls or operates an accommodation facility in a Restricted Area must not operate that facility during the restricted activity period.”
Do Airbnb’s classify as an accommodation facility? They sure do! Airbnb are specifically listed as one such facility that must not operate.
There are some limited and reasonable exemptions, for example, if a person needs emergency accommodation, has no permanent residence within Victoria or requires accommodation for work purposes.
So what should your owners corporations’ do if short term letting operations are still happening in your building? Short term operators should be mandated to provide the details of short term guests, their usual place of residence and the purpose for which they are requiring the accommodation facility.
A circular should be sent to all residents notifying them of the effective ban on short term letting and requesting residents to immediately notify the building manager/concierge or owners corporation manager if they suspect an apartment is being short term tenanted so that the owners corporation can ascertain whether the persons are there for legitimate and legal reasons.