The Sunshine Coast Regional Council recently won a court decision to ban a couple from renting out their holiday home near Caloundra.
The Queensland Planning and Environment Court issued the ban on Don and Anne Stanfield as part of a court case that was initially brought by the Council due to a number of noise complaints from local resident and neighbours of the couple.
Don and Anne Stanfield have been renting out the property on and off since 2008, The property is a 6 bedroom home called Ascot Manor, at Little Mountain, near Caloundra City in the Sunshine Coast.
After a number of complaints by nearby residents about the noise emanating from the house, council asked the couple to pay a $500 tourism levy before asking them to submit an application for a material change of use on the property which carries a fee of $8500, it was later that the couple were issued a summons for the court appearance.
The Planning and Environment Court last month ruled that the Stanfields' use of the home was in contravention of the Caloundra town planning scheme. Due to the number of persons it sleeps (up to 20) the court determined that it was more inline with an accommodation property than a holiday rental house.
The Stanfields have said that the court's classification of their house as an “accommodation building” or “undefined use” (which is in accordance with a council flow-chart) could have implications for thousands of other property owners in the council region.
Queensland Holiday Rentals provide two major points of difference to the normal accommodation options, firstly that of price as they are often much cheaper than resorts or hotels for holidays and secondly a locality or geographical difference in that the are often away from the main hotel and resort strips of cities which caters for people wanting a quieter holiday experience.
Mrs Stanfield said the flow-chart that was endorsed by the court indicated that house-swaps and on-site manager's units could be also be considered illegal - and that home-based businesses could not be operated from residential units, which could affect many cottage industries.
Mrs Stanfield said: “It's not just about holiday houses. It means you can't have friends come and stay in your house. It means that you can't run a business from a unit. It means you can't have a manager's unit in a multi-unit complex. It has huge ramifications.”
Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said he was concerned at the possible flow on effects of the court decision and said he was not sure if the council had properly investigated the potential ramifications before taking the Stanfields to court.
He has asked for a full report and added that he was concerned that the council might be collecting tourism levies from home owners renting out their properties illegally.
Cnr Dwyer said “If we know it's illegal that means we shouldn't be charging people the tourism levy as we do,” he said.
www.visit-queensland.com.au will continue to monitor this story in the coming months.
Cheap deals on accommodation in Caloundra, Queensland. prices and descriptions on apartments in Caloundra