​Noisy Airbnb guests in Victoria could be fined up to AU$1,100

Neighbours could also be compensated by up to AU$2,000 under the state's newly passed legislation.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Victorian government has passed legislation that gives short-stay accommodation providers and their neighbours more power.

According to the state government, the Owners Corporation Amendment (Short-stay Accommodation) Bill 2016 will help stamp out bad behaviour in Airbnb-like arrangements.

Guests could face fines of up to AU$1,100 for a range of conduct breaches, including creating unreasonable noise or behaving badly; causing a health, safety, or security hazard; damaging common property; and obstructing a resident from using their property.

The Bill also means apartment owners can now be liable for any damage, noise, or loss of amenity caused by their guests.

With more power being given to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), property owners may also be ordered to pay neighbours' compensation and any damage caused by their guests to common property.

VCAT now also has the authority to award compensation of up to AU$2,000 to neighbours, and ban short-stay apartments that are repeatedly used for "unruly" parties.

In addition, Consumer Affairs Victoria will help conciliate in short-stay disputes that cannot be resolved through the owners corporations dispute resolution processes.

While a statement from Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz said the government acknowledges that the majority of short-stay accommodation is used responsibly in Victoria, she said the reforms are designed to reduce the number of isolated incidents of bad behaviour.

"These tough new laws will deliver essential protections that apartment residents deserve," she added. "We're regulating the short-stay sector to better protect Victorians and crack down on unruly behaviour in short-stay accommodation."

Kairouz believes the new laws will encourage short-stay apartment owners to take more steps, such as implementing bonds and screening practices, to ensure their apartments are not used in an unruly fashion.

A year after a Parliamentary inquiry into home-sharing services such as Airbnb, the New South Wales government in June introduced a short-term holiday letting plan touted as supporting the sharing economy and giving consumers more choice while cracking down on bad behaviour.

The mandatory code of conduct for online accommodation platforms, letting agents, hosts, and guests aims to address impacts of noise levels, disruptive guests, and effects on shared neighbourhood amenities.

The code will also include a new dispute resolution process to resolve complaints, and NSW Fair Trading will have powers to police online platforms and letting agents.

"Under our 'two strikes and you're out' policy, hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the code within two years will be banned for five, and be listed on an exclusion register," Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said while introducing the new rules in June.

"These are the toughest laws in the country and will make sure residents are protected while ensuring that hosts who do the right thing are not penalised."

Meanwhile, the government of Western Australia in June said it is conducting a "comprehensive assessment" of the rules governing home-sharing services like Airbnb to ensure the short-stay provider is properly regulated.


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