Time up for ‘party houses’

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A BID by Frankston Council to curb the noise nuisance of “party houses” leased out on a short-term basis is heading to court.

A case listed to be heard at Frankston Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (14 June) could set a precedent across the state and force landlords who offer short-term accommodation to register properties with councils.

If Frankston Council’s case is successful this registration would mean landlords would be personally liable for non-compliance with local laws stipulating noise controls.

Property owners could then face fines of up to $38,056 for a failure to comply with a council-issued prohibition notice.

Council’s court bid comes after complaints were received from neighbours about “noise and nuisance issues” at a property in Gould Street and another in Nursery Avenue.

The two properties are listed as short-term accommodation on website Airbnb.

Council officers have found there are 50 property listings throughout the Frankston municipality on Airbnb and the Stayz website.

Council CEO Dennis Hovenden wrote in March to Airbnb, based in San Francisco in the US, to notify the Silicon Valley company that complaints about properties listed on its site were being investigated by council’s Environmental Health Unit.

“The complaints received are in breach of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, section 58 in relation to causing a nuisance and section 67 for trading as an unregistered prescribed accommodation premise,” Mr Hovenden wrote.

Airbnb representative “Ana” responded by stating the company “is an online platform and does not own, operate, manage or control accommodations” but “does take these types of complaints seriously and are committed to notifying hosts when we receive them”.

Councillors at the latest public council meeting held on Monday 4 June heard neighbours of houses complain about mass parties held at residential homes at all hours of the day and night.

Councillors noted many visitors to the Frankston area cause no trouble for neighbours when staying in short-term accommodation but council hopes to be able to take action against “party houses” owners.

Neighbouring Mornington Peninsula Shire council introduced a Short Stay Rental Accommodation Local Law earlier this year featuring a code of conduct to try to clamp down on rowdy behaviour at short-term stay residential homes.

First published in the Frankston Times – 11 June 2018

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