Council plans curfew crackdown on Airbnb guests

Brighton Beach on the Mornington Peninsular – sand, sea, curfew?

Another twist in the Airbnb story hit today. Not this time, the problem of unruly guests in apartment blocks with absentee and uncontactable landlords. If that’s a problem you suffer from, a council in Victoria is taking steps that may, just may be adopted in your suburb.

ABC radio reports that the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s proposed new laws would require home owners who rent their properties through platforms like Airbnb and Stayz to register their properties with council and agree to a code of conduct. The council plans to ban tourists staying in short-term accommodation from being outside making noise on outdoor decking, balconies and pools after 10:00pm.

Seems like a reasonable plan to me and applicable right where you are, especially if your apartment is on the pool side of the building, whether you’re in a tourist area or it’s just a hot summer night and there are tourist guests staying in your block.

Mornington Peninsular Shire’s proposed bye laws have 12 points, some of which are:

  • Outdoor areas including swimming pools, spas, outdoor decking and balconies are not to be used between 10:00pm and 8:00am seven days a week
  • Visitors are not permitted between 10:00pm and 8:00am seven days a week
  • The dwelling and any connected land cannot be used as a party house (bucks’ or hens’ nights, birthdays or any other type of party)
  • The owner must control and be responsible for any visitors to the occupants at the dwelling.

These seem very applicable rules for any type of property, not just holiday lets in beachside areas.

But home owners are not happy about the proposed restrictions, even though their neighbours may be. Local home owner Neil Goodridge, who rents out the top half of his house to tourists through Airbnb, told ABC Radio Melbourne the proposed rules were bizarre.

“I’ve got an old house that’s quite close to the road, and out the front I’ve got a lovely deck and people just go out there and have a chat and things,” he said. “At 10:00pm I’m supposed to police it — it’s my home and I live downstairs — so I’m supposed to come up at 10:00pm and say ‘lights out, go to bed’.”

But Mornington Shire Council Mayor Bryan Payne defended the proposed law as an “an innovative process to curb a very important problem”.

“Mornington Peninsula, like all resort areas, have got a real problem, just next door to my place we had this going on for 12 months, they just have parties all night and you ring the police and nothing happens,” he said.

Party on Dudes – till 10pm

“We’ve had 87 complaints in the last 12 months about these particular properties — one poor lady was put into hospital with stress because of the whole thing, other people have been threatened.

“Whilst people are having these parties and the neighbours have to put up with it, the owners are sitting back in Melbourne oblivious to what’s going on.”

Councillor Payne was backed up on social media and ABC Radio Melbourne, with a number of local listeners supporting the ban.

“When 20 teenagers descend for schoolies and live next door from you for a week and create mayhem, you’ve got to have someone do something about it,” one person wrote in a text message to ABC Radio Melbourne.

 

Mr Goodridge said targeting holiday makers was not a good idea for the region. “There’s no holiday romances, you can’t have someone you met at the beach and say come back to my place or anything, it really is incredible,” he said.

“It’s also entirely discriminatory, people that are lucky enough to have a house down here can do what they like, the rules don’t apply, it’s only for short-stay people, all the holiday maker tourists that come here.”

We hear you Mr Goodridge, but let me tell you there are a lot of people in urban areas who like the idea of a precedent like this!

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