The Owners Corporations Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Act 2018 (Vic) (Act) came into effect on 1 February 2019. The Act provides owners corporations with more discretion to self-regulate short-stay accommodation in their buildings and to better address the concerns of lot owners affected by any unruly short-stay occupants who enter into short stay accommodation arrangements of up to 6 nights.
Members of an owners corporation, tenants and property managers can now lodge a complaint against a short-stay accommodation provider (lot owner or a lot owner’s tenant) who enters into a short-stay accommodation arrangement with an occupant who:
- Creates excessive noise;
- Behaves in a manner that will likely interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of other occupiers;
- Causes health, safety or security hazards;
- Damages common property; and
- Obstructs another resident from using their property.
Owners corporations must then decide whether to take action in relation to a complaint. Action can only be taken if the owners corporation believes on reasonable grounds that there has been a breach of these provisions. If the owners corporation decides to not take action, it must provide notice to the person who made the complaint and provide reasons why no action was taken. If action is taken, the owners corporation must issue a notice to the relevant lot owner requiring it to rectify the breach; and if the breach is not rectified the owners corporation can then make application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to resolve the dispute. A lot owner, occupier or agent can also make an application to VCAT to resolve the dispute.
VCAT has the power to issue fines up to a maximum of $1,100 to the short-stay accommodation providers and occupants who are jointly and severally liable under the Act on account of this behaviour, and order affected lot owners be compensated an amount up to $2,000 for loss of amenity. VCAT will also have the power to prohibit the use of a lot for the purpose of a short-stay accommodation arrangement if three separate complaints are made within a 24 month period.
Owners corporations must also now report to the AGM in relation to the number and type of complaints, whether action was taken and the outcome of any action taken.
Whether these changes will impact operators of short stay accommodation remains to be seen. However, the changes do mean that owners corporations should now be in a position to action complaints made about this type of conduct by short stay occupants.
Russell Kennedy’s Property and Development team has the expertise and knowledge required to assist you with any owners corporation query you may have. Please contact Eleanor Athanasiou or Mark McKinley for more information on how we can assist.