Council to reconsider holiday rentals motion

Councillor Matt Brown is seeking to rescind a motion by Councillor Kathy Rice, passed at the July Council Meeting, seeking staff to prepare a case for reducing the non-hosted short-term rental accommodation (STRA) period in Kiama from 365 days to 180 days per year.

Cllr Brown, who chairs the advisory committee of Destination Kiama, says the area needs all the accommodation it can get.

“I don’t think all councillors were fully aware of the importance of the motion that went through,” he says.

“The motion means that holiday places could only be rented out for half a year. That’s crazy.

“When we have our big events in town we don’t have enough places to stay.

“The place is already booked out for L’Etape in November.”

Cllr Rice says Cllr Brown has misunderstood the motion, which relied on information in a report by the Director Environmental Services.

“It explained that if we were successful in getting this ministerial direction [to reduce the number of days a non-hosted STRA may operate], it would only apply to new holiday rentals that began operation after that direction.

“To say it would apply to existing holiday rentals is not true, and yet that is what he is telling everyone.”

She has concerns that left unchecked it will become increasingly hard for people to find rental houses here.

“We have a 40 per cent lower rental tenancy rate than the rest of NSW because people have holiday houses and they are often unoccupied.

“I am concerned an increasingly large proportion of Kiama’s housing stock will end up being holiday rental, at the expense of houses for permanent residents.

“My perspective is that we need a whole variety of people that can live here and contribute to the community on a day-to-day basis.

“We risk damaging our vibrancy and community spirit.

“This is a way of ensuring we continue to have places for people who can’t afford to buy to live in our towns.

“Other holiday areas have already done it, including Byron Bay limiting its new STRA to 90 days.”

Cllr Brown stands by his take on the motion.

“It clearly states anyone who rents out short term rental can only do it for half a year.

“What she is trying to do is socialist engineering. She is trying to deny people their investment and reduce visitor accommodation.”

Cllr Brown also says that Council would not have the resources to enforce such a motion.

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