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Airbnb Strata Properties - As Easy As 1, 2, 3?

By Maxine Fenlon

8th March 2019

It’s the modern way of getting the most out of your investment.  AirBnB is an online marketplace which allows owners to let all or part of their property to guests, usually holiday goers, as short term letting.  Owners of all types of property are signing up to participate in this type of letting platform all over the world.

But if your property is a unit in a community titles scheme in Queensland, what right does the body corporate have to put a spanner in the works?

The short answer appears to be none. Certainly, a by-law in a Community Management Statement which tried to prohibit AirBnB would be unenforceable. Section 180(3) of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act (“the Act”) provides that “If a lot may lawfully be used for residential purposes, the by-laws cannot restrict the type of residential use”. There have been numerous decisions on the point which make it clear that this section extends to a prohibition against short term letting – which is essentially the essence of AirBnB.

The best that the body corporate can do is to focus on the by-laws that are enforceable.  For example, if an AirBnB guest is causing a nuisance, is parking in prohibited parts of the common property or are otherwise engaging in conduct contrary to the by-laws, they can be held just as accountable as any other tenant or owner.  The procedure for contravention of by-laws in the Act would need to be complied with by the body corporate.

Owners should be aware however that they are not totally off the hook.  Short term letting still needs to be consistent with the planning approvals and zoning requirements of the local authority.  Although a body corporate has no authority to enforce council requirements, it can report the owner to the council for investigation.

We can assist you to determine if your unit is AirBnB ready by checking the local authority requirements that relate to your property and by assisting you to communicate your rights effectively to the body corporate. Alternatively, if you are a member of a committee or a lot owner aggrieved by the conduct of AirBnB guests in your scheme, we can provide further advice about what you can do.  Please contact Maxine Fenlon, David Patton or another member of our Property team in either our Townsville or Sunshine Coast offices for more information.

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Sunshine Coast

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Maroochydore QLD 4558

(07) 5475 8400


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Townsville QLD 4810

(07) 4760 0100