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Can a body corporate ban short term letting such as AirBNB?

The growth of AirBNB and other short term letting platforms in the accommodation industry has been significant in the past few years.

So much so that the NSW parliament is presently drafting state legislation to ‘clean up’ the numerous local laws throughout NSW dealing with the issue, resulting in a uniform position for property owners in NSW.

Queensland has faced similar issues within strata living.

However, in Queensland, Body Corporates cannot ban short term letting so owners are free to let their property out on AirBNB.

The Body Corporate and Community Management Act, at a very general level, prevents a Body Corporate from interfering with an owners use of their lot. This means that a Body Corporate generally cannot go inside people’s front door and impose rules.

A Body Corporate’s powers extend to the common areas and conduct that interferes unreasonably with other owners in the scheme.

This means that Body Corporates cannot impose ‘no letting under 1 month’ or ‘no schoolies’ by-laws and any by-law that attempts to impose these restrictions is void.

So, what can a Body Corporate do about short term letting?

Less directly, a Body Corporate can regulate the use of common areas and conduct that interferes unreasonably with others. There is a certain threshold that behaviour will need to meet before it is ‘unreasonable’ and each circumstance will be different. Proving certain behaviour can also be difficult.

Strata living has an inherent level of compromise for it to work so not all cases of a disturbance is going to breach the by-laws.

The only ability for a Body Corporate to ban short term letting is if the local planning laws prohibit short term letting however these aren’t very common in Queensland. In these circumstances the Body Corporate can engage with the local government to enforce the local planning laws.