Conditions continue on holiday let

Byron Shire Council will continue to impose a consent condition on new houses that prohibits them from being holiday let, despite questions over the legality of the practice.

At last week’s council meeting, Cr Ross Tucker said he had received a complaint from a dual-occupancy owner in Shirley St, who had been encumbered with a consent condition prohibiting the use of the new dwelling for holiday letting.

He put forward a motion that since the council did not have a policy to support the prohibition, and holiday letting is not defined in the Byron LEP, all consents granted in 2010 should be reviewed and, if applicable, have the condition deleted.

“The fact of the matter is you can build a house in a residential zone and not live in it. You can use it as a holiday house. This is not planning law,” he said.

However, Greens councillors, who have been seeking to regulate holiday letting, argued the condition be retained, as it is one of the few means council has available to control the controversial practice. Previous attempts to change local planning laws have been thwarted by the NSW Government, and the council is now planning to bring the long-running holiday let issue to a head through the courts.

Cr Jan Barham said the definition of “residential” was clearly a place of permanent residence, not commercial holiday letting. She said there had been ambiguity about it in the past, so council was sending a clear message to ensure it did not continue.

Cr Simon Richardson said it was about supporting residents and their rights.

“Some baby boomer in Sydney can buy their fifth or sixth house on the internet – not even look at it – and rent it out in Byron Bay,” he said.

The meeting heard that 400 to 600 houses are being used for holiday letting.

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