Short Stays Banned

A ground-breaking legal decision to uphold a short-term letting bylaw

There’s been a ground-breaking legal decision on the battle by some unit and apartment owners in Queensland to ban Airbnb from their strata complexes.

For the first time in Queensland, a by-law banning shortterm letting within a Gold Coast strata community has been successful, and SCA (Qld) is cautiously optimistic in the message this sends to the Queensland Government to grant more powers to bodies corporate.

The reported decision is: Fairway Island GTP v Redman and Murray [2019] QMC 13.

Unlike many strata title schemes in Queensland, which are governed by the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCMA), Fairway Island within Hope Island Resort remains under the Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980 (Qld) (BUGTA).

Both legislations enable bodies corporate to make by-laws, but the BCCMA imposes more restrictions on by-laws. For example, under the BCCMA, a by-law cannot restrict the “type” of residential use or discriminate between different types of occupiers.

SCA (Qld) President James Nickless says, “We’re pleased to see common sense prevail in this case and a body corporate empowered to enact and enforce by-laws which are true to their community values.

“This case not only stands out because of the outcome in favour of the body corporate, but also in part because of the Magistrate’s consideration as to why Parliament has given bodies corporate the power to make by-laws.

“Under conservative legislation, we see many bodies corporate throughout Queensland unable to regulate their community with meaningful by-laws, due to the restrictions in place on what bylaws can and cannot do.

“The consensus of a significant majority of lot owners on any proposed by-law can be and has been regularly overruled by an outside decision maker who believes it to be unreasonable. The Magistrate’s decision helpfully explains why any outside decision maker should be reluctant to overrule the majority.

“While we don’t wish to criticise the BCCMA or the processes in place, we believe the outcome of this case is encouraging for bodies corporate in Queensland, and we hope the State Government is watching closely.”

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