Short term tenants can be the neighbours from hell

The problem with short term tenancies is getting worse not better.

During 2014 one of our members brought to attention the worsening situation resulting from units adjacent to her home being regularly rented out for short terms, and the frequently riotous behaviour of the renters, as it happened with serious implications for her own family.

The attention of the ACT Legislative Assembly has been drawn to the social and community problems associated with allowing short-term accommodation in residential apartment complexes, including the impact of short-term guests on residents, compromised security and inability of residents to enjoy their own homes due to crowd sourced noise and antisocial behaviour. The Assembly was asked to consider legislation to allow residential apartments to remain as people's homes not hotels, motels and other short-term accommodation models. To date, no legislative action has been taken.

This is not an isolated case. Many apartment buildings both here and in other cities are reporting increasing problems with short term accommodation.

The situation is worsened when the authorities allow the registration of a unit plan where a substantial proportion (or even a majority) of otherwise residential units can be used for commercial purposes. Cases are on record where enough of the unit entitlement (and hence voting power) belongs to a single commercial entity, which can then dictate the rules under which ordinary residents must live.

The OCN is discussing the issues with Government officials, who acknowledge there is a problem and the need to remedy some of the regulatory shortfalls. But this is a complex situation which will require changes to legislation, but only after consultation with all the stakeholders.

OCN will continue to pursue resolution of these vexed issues. In the meantime, members planning to buy, especially in inner city high rise apartments, should ensure the property they buy is what they are expecting to get.