HLO launched in 2005
In 2005, local holiday letting came under unprecedented attack in the media by some local councillors, with those councillors claiming that holiday letting was illegal. At the time, without council resolutions or guidelines in place, the Byron Shire Council instructed real estate agents to stop holiday letting altogether and, in some cases, threatened to fine some property owners $1.1 million if holiday letting continued.
In the context of this environment, with a hostile relationship beginning to form between many property owners involved in holiday letting and the local council, Holiday Letting Organisation (HLO) was established, giving individual home owners the opportunity to form a ‘collective voice’ on the issue of holiday letting, and to better understand, and work with the council, to address concerns.
HLO Byron Incorporated was established on the 28th of August in 2005 and immediately sought to clarify the legal position of homeowners conducting holiday letting. While holiday letting had been occurring (both formally and informally) for decades in Byron Bay, there was growing concern from residents about visitors disrupting the peace and placing too much strain on the town’s amenities.
Careful examination of this revealed that only a handful of properties were not being holiday let ‘responsibly’ and unfortunately it was this handful who were denigrating the reputation of the entire industry.
Once HLO had clarified the legal position, it then presented to the full Council. Consequently, at a special planning meeting on the 8th of November 2005 the Council resolved to place a moratorium on compliance action until it had resolved its planning position on holiday letting.
This stimulated a lot of debate and opinion. On one hand, visitors contribute enormously to the to the local economy and its diverse culture. On the other, visitors need to be appropriately catered for, and they need to understand and respect the environment, including the people who live here permanently.
With this in mind, and foreseeing a strong future for holiday letting in the region, HLO drafted a number of resources including guidelines for managers and homeowners to enable them to effectively administer the industry Code of Practice. This local Code was superceded by a NSW statewide Code in 2012. HLO was a member of the committee that drafted the Code and is still on the Code Administration Committee.
These resources are available here.
It’s HLO’s position that owners have a right to let their properties whenever they want to, short term or long term. On the other hand, they should ensure that their properties are managed responsibly.
The code of practice aims to encourage considerate visitors and filter out the ‘party-goers’ by:
HLO also operates a Noisy Neighbours hotline that provides residents with a complaints hotline so they can report any nuisance holiday let behaviour and have it dealt with immediately.
Advocating for the local Holiday Let Industry.
Submissions to the NSW State Government Parliamentary Inquiry and the Byron Shire Council LEP are available for download here. We have also included the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry report.