Gold Coast City Council Short Term Accommodation Task Force

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					    Gold Coast City Council Short Term Accommodation Task
                             Force

                               Minutes of the 2nd Meeting

                             Friday 21 May, 2010, 10.30am
                                          at
                                   GCCC Boardroom
                              135 Bundall Road, Bundall


 Task Force Mission: To develop and consider options to respond to the issue of anti-social
 behaviour by occupants of short-term accommodation in residential areas and to recommend to
 Council a suitable response.




Meeting opened at 10.33am

Present:      Mayor Clarke (Chair)
              Mr Ray Stevens MP, State Member for Mermaid Beach
              Mrs Christine Smith MP, State Member
              Inspector Glenn Allan , Queensland Police Service
              Cr. Grant Pforr
              Mr Ross Eastgate, Media Advisor and proxy for the Leader of the Opposition and
              State Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek, MP
              Mr Ray Milton
              Cr Eddy Sarroff
              Cr Greg Betts
              Ms Lindsay Wallace, Gold Coast Tourism
              Mr Grant Wilson, Acting City Solicitor
              Mr John Cohen, Manager Regulatory Services
              Mr David Hood, Executive Coordinator City Planning Unit
              Mr Stephen Cochrane, STA Task Force Secretariat

Apologies:    Cr Susie Douglas
              Ms Tamara Wiseman (Dept of Infrastructure and Planning)

Confirmation of Minutes:     Cr Eddy Sarroff/ Mr Ray Stevens

The Mayor, Cr Ron Clarke then addressed Inward Correspondence as detailed in the Agenda.

Mayor Clarke then pointed out that although we cannot restrict people from letting houses, we can
make a distinction between short and long term rentals




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Mayor Clarke;   - referred to the legal advice from the City Solicitor and asked the Acting City
                Solicitor, Mr Grant Wilson, if Council can impose conditions on licences.

Mr Wilson:      No, there is no distinction between short and long term accommodation in
                the licensing of rental premises.

Mayor Clarke    Can we charge a bond?

Mr. Wilson:     Yes, but we must determine how we can practically make it work.

Cr Sarroff:     Who would pay the bond?

Mr Wilson       The owner of the licence.

Mayor Clarke    Can we refuse to issue a licence?

Mr Wilson       Council could refuse to issue a licence if there was a history of bad
                behaviour

Mayor Clarke:   Difficulties of suspending licence
                Evidentiary – the rules of natural justice give property owners a chance to
                object to the suspension
Mr Stevens
                    The onus should be on the proponent to ensure that a nuisance will
                     not occur,
                    A combination of licence and planning matters should be able to
                     resolve the problem.
                    Why we are so certain that a granting of a licence will alleviate the
                     problem?
                    We must use enforcement mechanisms but also must grant a licence
                     if satisfied that a nuisance will not be created.”
                    There is a great deal of evidence that Council has not been assured
                     in the past of proper behaviour.

Cr. Betts:      - referred to question 3 of the legal advice regarding applying for rental
licence
                Where do we find that in the Local Laws or Planning Scheme?

Mr. Wilson:     That part of answers refers to Local Laws

Cr Betts:       Could we make it detached dwellings only and create a new prescribed
                activity.?

Mr. Wilson:     Yes.

Mayor Clarke:   The Local Law would still encompass all rental accommodation.
                Adopt a by-exception approach so that there are tighter conditions on those
                properties.

Cr. Pforr:      Would it require Planning Scheme amendment or Local Law?

Mayor Clarke:   Local Law. Can we regulate parking?

Wilson:         Yes, there is definitely a jurisdiction under regulated parking Local Laws.
                Conditions can be imposed to more tightly regulate.




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Public Gallery        To open a business in Ashmore Rd you need to provide 4-5 carparks. What
                      about businesses in residential areas?

Mayor Clarke.         We will try to address such issues in our deliberations

Inspector Allen:      Prioritisation – all calls go to Broadbeach Communications Centre and are
                      given a priority order under policing policy. Excessive noise is an issue.
                      Incidents are difficult to predict. When called out legislation and other
                      government departments can come into play. The police do not know when
                      it is a STA house. They will look at “priors”, what action has been previously
                      taken and how many complaints there have been. However, there are
                      confidentiality and privacy issues that have to be taken into account when
                      exchanging information

                      The police and Council should engage in an information exchange. Each
                      complaint has to be taken on case-by-case basis. Cannot take action
                      because of the amount of calls. Police will try to provide assistance but a
                      Memorandum of Understanding would help to maintain confidentiality. Also,
                      we need to be able to distinguish between resident and a STA house

Mayor Clarke:         Council does not want to see the police waste their time, but they do need to
                      respond. Council needs to ensure that people make the calls to complain.
                      There were only around 82 registered complainants since records began in
                      July 2009, so we need to ensure all complainants make a call.

Cr. Pforr:            It would it be good if Council provided lists of complaints to police. However,
                      their own risk model would put “life endangering situations” at the top. We
                      need to review the complaints list on at least a monthly basis to pin point
                      repeat calls for services.

Cr. Betts:            Complaints come to Council officers but do they also go to police?

Cohen:                At present Council records the complaints and had planned to forward them
                      to the police yearly to support a QPS claim for additional resources.

Mayor Clarke:         The Mayor then referred an email from Ms. Shari O’Keefe on behalf of the
                      Home Owners Rental Group, which details recommendations for self
                      regulation and the type of Terms and Conditions under which self regulation
                      could work. The Home Owners Rental Group currently has around 200
                      members and is in the process of contacting 2,500 rental home owners on
                      the Gold Coast to gauge their interest in joining the group and working
                      toward self-regulation.

Visions on the Quay Visions on the Quay owns holiday rental properties on the Gold Coast and
                    imposes strict self regulatory controls on their tenants. They support strong
                    and enforced self regulation and suspension of licences if that is what it
                    takes to curb unruly behaviour that effects the peace of the neighbourhood

Mayor Clarke          Agreed that the Task Force should consider ways to suspend rental licences
                      including the reasons for suspension and the repercussions.

Cr Sarroff:           Believes that the Task Force should make licence suspension a focus of its
                      endeavours.

Mayor Clarke          referred to the legal advice from the then Acting City Solicitor, Ms Cherie
                      Watt regarding the conditions and powers of Local Laws, Council’s licensing



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                     process for rental accommodation and whether it could impose specific
                     regulations for use of external areas, fines and prosecution powers

                     Mayor Clarke then referred to Inspector Allan and inquired whether a call
                     from one neighbour was sufficient to cause police to ac.

Inspector Allan:     If one call can be substantiated and is not frivolous or vexatious, then yes, it
                     will be investigated.

Cr. Sarroff:         It is obvious that the community are making complaints so we need to be
                     able to work with the police and follow them up.

Mayor Clarke:        We need to ensure that self regulation is part of the remedy to the problem.

Mr. Cohen:           Commented that the legal opinion by the Acting City Solicitor is a broad
                     interpretation. There is nothing in Local Laws that deals with behavioural
                     matters.

Mr Wilson:           Legal advice is we have ability to move.

Mr Stevens:          Many owners assure us that they are self regulatory now but is obviously not
                     effective. It may give comfort in the short term but will not work alone. There
                     needs to be other controls at the same time

Mayor Clarke:        We need to suggest to owners that they to look at self regulation in a
                     concerted way and that it is an aspect of this whole problem that definitely
                     should be pursued.


Member of Public:    Most registered rental home owners are conscientious of the need to self
                     regulate, so there is a need to find those who are not registered.

Mayor Clarke:        They have proven very hard to trace. There are 1560 stayz.com.au
                     properties listed on the Gold Coast, 206 are licenced residences and there
                     are also over 15000 in apartments. Can Council determine how many are in
                     residential areas.

Mr Cohen:            Of complaints the vast majority are registered premises.

Mr Milton:           The Residential Tenancy Authority considers rentals as permanent only, not
                     short term rentals. Council should consider approaching the RTA with a view
                     to including holiday letting in the Tenancy Agreement, which may go some
                     way in alleviating problems.

Member of the Public What about home owners, will they be prosecuted or regulated?

Mayor Clarke:        At present it is very difficult to identify what is a “party house” and what is
                     residential. First time offenders would not be suspended. There would be a
                     warning process. Short Term Accommodation houses sometimes operate
                     for days on end with constant parties. There is a need to control constant
                     and persistent nuisances.

                     We will need to look at Local Law 16 change Regarding the granting of
                     licences. Licences need to be more specific.

Mr Cohen:            Most do not have a list of conditions.



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Mr Clarke:          Suggested that we should “spell it out”.

Cr Pforr:           Asked Mr Wilson now long it take to get changes to a Local Law passed?

Mr Wilson:          If made a matter of urgency we can approach State Government who may
                    approve in around 6 months.

Mr Cohen:           The Local Government Act 2009 is coming into force 1 July 2010. The state
                    government is reluctant to amend Local Law prior to that.

Mr Stevens          The Mermaid Beach and Burleigh Sate Members of Parliament will
                    approach the State Government to get required Local Law amendments
                    approved as soon as possible.

Mr Milton:          The Residential Tenancies Authority administers the Residential Tenancies
                    and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) and is responsible to the
                    Minister for Community Services and Housing and Minister for Women. We
                    should perhaps approach the Minister for changes to the Act that will
                    recognise short term accommodation

Mayor Clarke:       (To Mr Stevens and Mrs Smith) – There is a question of restricting short
                    term accommodation to certain areas.

Mr Stevens:         A long-term solution is best addressed in Planning Act. We will not impact
                    tourism if we have appropriately zoned areas.

                    On the subject of business investment, all other businesses have to go
                    through appropriate approval mechanism. Proper planning requirements
                    would preclude any problem with short term accommodation. Owners and
                    neighbours want to see a “Material Change of Use” clause that relates to
                    short term rental accommodation

Cr Pforr:           How long will this take? It has to be included in the Sustainable Planning
                    Act. Our Planning Scheme is not due for review until 2012.

Mr Hood (Planner)   September 2012, when our new Planning Scheme comes in to force. It is
                    possible to define Short Term Accommodation in the Planning Scheme, but
                    it does not regulate behaviour.

                    The Queensland Planning provisions already have a definition for Short
                    term accommodation, which is:

                    Premises used to provide short term accommodation for the general public
                    which may be self-contained. The use may include a manager’s residence
                    and office and the provision of recreation facilities for the exclusive use of
                    residents.

Cr Sarroff:         Our planners need to include conditions to regulate short term
                    accommodation. in the revised planning scheme, given the time frame of
                    Planning Scheme amendments.

Mayor Clarke:       Summing up we have:
                       Short term - self regulation and suspension of licences.
                       Medium term – Local Law changes (up to 6 months)
                       Long term – State legislation changes.




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Member of Public:     Advised the task force that he had just sold hid retirement home and
                      purchased a short term accommodation house, which he ha just rented for
                      the first time and now Council is trying to take away his livelihood.

Mayor Clarke:         The Task Force has no intention of doing so. They are trying to regulate a
                      situation that has caused much angst in various neighbourhoods

Shari O’Keefe         (Representing 200 home owners in the Home Owners Rental Group).).
                      Advised the Task Force that they want to work with Council and address the
                      current problems. They are currently investigating the drafting of a Rental
                      Home Owner Code of Practice, which is aimed at being acceptable to
                      neighbourhoods. They need to contact more owners and get them involved.

Member of Public:     The main problem is overcrowding that also brings problems with car
                      parking. The Rental Tenancy Agreement says 4 bedrooms should only have
                      8 people

Cr. Pforr:            Suspension of licences – what is a realistic time to suspend a licence?

Mayor Clarke:         It has to be legally sustainable. We need evidence before we can serve a
                      notice.

Mr Wilson:            Council would rely on prescribed criteria – loss of amenity, nuisance. This
                      may be challenged on judicial review.

Mayor Clarke:         (To Mr Wilson). Is noise a part of nuisance?

Mr Wilson:            It does not include noise.

Member of Public:     Lives in a small community. Now there are 12 STA houses in the area. How
                      can it be stopped in residential areas? They want to live in a community
                      where they know their neighbours. Perhaps amendments could be made to
                      the relevant Local Law.

Mr Clarke:            Proposed Local Law changes will be brought to next meeting.

Member of the Public: Is a Planning Scheme amendment retrospective?

Mayor Clarke:         No.

In summary the following actions will be investigated and reported to the next meeting:

1) SHORT TERM

(a) Self-Regulation to be developed with the various owners associations and the Real Estate
Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

(b) Suspension of Licences by expanding the list of conditions and identifying the extent and
practicality of obtaining acceptable evidence to prove licence breaches.

(c) Memorandum of Understanding between the Queensland Police Service and Gold Coast City
Council

(2) MEDIUM TERM

(a) Changing Local Laws to add more legality to the suspension of levies by establishing
conditions for the retention of the amenity of neighbouring residences by restricting noise, car

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parking, exhibitionism, and numbers within any residential neighbourhood (eg. radius of 1
kilometre)

(b) The ability/right for Council to insist all short-term tenants in non-tourism zones should pay a
$1,000 bond repayable if property remains unblemished at end of rental period and the amenity of
neighbours unaffected. It is expected the pertinent changes to Local Law could take up to 6
months to implement.

(3) LONG TERM

(a) The Committee is seeking even more assurance by seeking to change the Sustainable
Planning Act to indicate zones where short term tenancies are acceptable with definitions of short
term (as against normal tenancies) and to list all the essential conditions of occupancy of these
short term tenancies, definition of the protected amenity and the process of enforcing any
suspension of licences.

(b) As well, the Regulatory Tenancy Authority (RTA) has conditions for tenancies over 3 months,
but none for tenancies any shorter. This will be investigated to ascertain if it can be altered to
include short term tenancies. There is evidence a large number of Short Term Accommodation
properties are not registered, as only 206 residences are listed in the latest rates assessment, not
including apartment tenancies. stayz.com.au lists over 1,500 of these (including apartments) that
should be levied.

The meeting closed at 12.04pm




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