Another important impact of holiday letting is the effect it has on affordable housing and rental stock.
Housing in Byron Shire is expensive and out of reach for many people. Byron Shire Council is trying to do what it can to make housing cheaper. Admittedly, Council cannot control house prices. However, it can:
- Provide development incentives to encourage more housing; and
- Work with the community to ensure housing is provided to permanent residents.
In 2011, Council decided to exempt certain secondary dwellings from development contributions. However, the exemption was only for dwellings which provided a home for permanent residents and consents were conditioned to restrict tourist and visitor accommodation.
This exemption has been keenly taken up by many home owners. However, Council continues to hear from community members who are worried that many secondary dwellings are being used to make money from tourism.
There is no doubt Byron Shire’s popularity as a tourist destination means many home owners want to make money on their property from tourism. But in some cases, this can come at a cost to the wider community.
Council recently resolved that it would employ enforcement action on properties acting outside their development consent, by using their properties in contradiction of development consent conditions that do not permit the use for tourism purposes.
In the absence of specific holiday letting provisions, the use of dwellings for short-term holiday accommodation falls within the Standard LEP Template definition of ‘tourist and visitor accommodation’ and is a prohibited land use in the residential zones of the Byron LEP 2014. Tourist and visitor accommodation is permitted with consent in the B2 Local Centre zone and SP3 Tourist zone.
However, under Byron LEP 2014 a one bedroom bed and breakfast establishment is exempt development, subject to the basic standards for exempt development.