HOLIDAY HELP: Estate agents and accommodation providers have set up a hotline to call if holidaymakers get too noisy.
HOLIDAY HELP: Estate agents and accommodation providers have set up a hotline to call if holidaymakers get too noisy.

Barham bids for tough rent rules



By MEGAN KINNINMENT

HAVING a hotline number to dob-in rowdy holiday makers is a nice idea, but what about sleep-deprived neighbours, asked two Byron Shire councillors yesterday.

While the Tourism Byron group yesterday launched a 'holiday hotline' linked to security firms in a bid to keep the peace this summer, Byron Shire's Cr John Lazarus and mayor Cr Jan Barham wanted more.

"Why should people in residential areas have to be responsible for managing your business?" Cr Lazarus asked Tourism Byron chair, Grant Hawkins.

"What are the residents getting out of this?" Cr Lazarus continued.

"It's a fair question ... I can't answer that ... we're trying," Mr Grant replied on behalf of the dozen real estate agents who forked out $5000 to set the hotline up and who have initiated a voluntary code of conduct to bring some sanity to residents affected by the burgeoning holiday-home industry in Byron Bay.

Cr Barham gave the chamber something to giggle about by suggesting a gift, maybe a complimentary massage, might be given to residents forced to call a security guard at 3am in the morning to deal with noisy holiday neighbours.

However, the mayor ended the discussion with a serious crackdown on the industry.

Cr Barham used her casting vote to push through a plan to have the Local Government Act amended so home-owners will have to apply for a licence before they can rent out their homes for less than 90 days.

"This summer I'm happy to see a trial (of the hotline and voluntary code of practice), but this motion will move us forward towards regulating the industry," Cr Barham said.



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