From February 1, new laws give VCAT more power to penalise short stay guests who cause damage or disruption to fellow residents. In today’s blog, Think Property & Co unpack what these new laws mean for property owners.
For real estate investors, the rise of the short stay leasing market has been both a blessing and a curse. The latter is often the result of the chaos that arises when a minority of short stay guests decide to host a raucous party. Some parties are nothing more worrying than a gathering and a few drinks, but they have the potential to get wildly out of hand and result in disruption, damage and even death. The death of 19 year old Laa Chol during an out-of-control party in Melbourne CBD was just one in a string of devastating eventualities of short stay guest parties.
The new laws give VCAT the power to issue fines of up to $1100 to disruptive party-goers in the event that damage is caused to common property, or disruptive or dangerous behaviours are seen to have taken place. For property owners, the good news is that the threat of hefty fines may indeed deter unruly parties from starting. The bad news is that VCAT can also issue charges of up to $2000 to owners themselves, payable as compensation to the owners corporation – and in severe cases owners may even get banned from leasing their properties on short-stay platforms.
Key Concerns About New Short Stay Party Laws
Lobby groups and strata lawyers are concerned that the recommended measures would be too costly and time consuming to be worthwhile for owners corporations. It remains unknown why OCs are not permitted to make their own laws around short stay leases. That said, doing so may punish hosts who have never actually had a problematic guest.
Freestanding houses are currently exempt from these new laws. The legislation specifically relates to apartments on shared dwellings, though it remains to be seen whether future changes will include houses.
If you’re a landlord wanting to know more about how these laws will affect your property, contact Think Property & Co here.