If you are looking to start renting out your property on Airbnb (or other similar platform) there are a few things to consider – namely whether or not you are actually entitled to set up a short term rental.
As we have discussed in previous posts, the Council regulates short term rentals quite strictly and it is often not as simple of a process to organise as you might think.
Have a look here to read an overview of the by-laws and regulations that surround short term rentals on the Gold Coast.
WHAT IS THE COUNCIL APPROVALS PROCESS?
In the majority of circumstances, you will need to get Council approval to lawfully start using your property as an Airbnb rental. There are some limited exceptions however – Read this article to find out whether you fit into the home-based business exception.
If you are one of the many that don’t fall under the home-based business exception, then, in order to avoid the risk of having your Airbnb business shut down by Council, you will need to go through the approvals process.
Step 1: Due Diligence
The first step is to do a bit of investigating. Are there other properties in your building or area that are listed as short-term rentals? If you live in an apartment or other strata-titled property, does your Body Corporate have a good attitude towards short term rentals, or are they unlikely give their approval and consent? What about neighbours – do you think they are likely to complain about increased noise or difficulty parking, or anything similar?
By checking on these things at the outset, you will have a better idea of the situation and that will come in very handy throughout the rest of the process.
Something else to look into is the possibility of an existing approval, or lawfully established non-confirming use rights based on historical use. While these are not particularly likely, you might get lucky and be able to skip over the whole approvals process!
Step 2: Talk to a Town Planner
As the name suggests, town planners specialise in city planning and are very knowledgeable about the specific regulations in that area. They will be able to give you an idea of the complexities involved with your specific property, as well as give you an estimate of the overall costs of the process. We regularly work with a selection of trusted town planners and will be able to facilitate this initial inquiry.
Depending on their response, you may choose not to continue with the approvals process. In some cases it can simply be too complicated and arduous to obtain all the necessary requirements. However, if you are ready to proceed then the town planner will become even more essential.
Step 3: Application to Council
The town planner will act as your advocate throughout this process, liaising with your Body Corporate (if applicable) and Council as required, and working to prepare and lodge an Application to Council on your behalf. This stage of the process will take approximate 2 weeks, depending on the time of year and complexity of your application.
During their decision-making, Council will often request further information on certain matters, and may raise concerns about things like noise, parking, rubbish and traffic. One of the most common requirements is a letter of consent from the landowner or Body Corporate of your property (if applicable) or even a Neighbour Letter of Support. The town planner will help to collect this information and advocate for an approval with as few conditions imposed as possible.
The length of Council’s decision making process can vary, especially depending on whether the application is Impact Assessable or Code Assessable (this is contingent on applicable property zoning and not something you can control). In general, you should receive Council’s decision in 55 business days or less for a Code Assessable application, or 95 business days or more for an Impact Assessable application.
There will also be significant application fees associated with the lodgment of the application with Council. In some circumstances, the town planner may be able to negotiate these fees down.
Step 4: Council’s Decision
When Council provides their decision outcome, you will need to check whether any imposed conditions effectively make the approval worthless. If the imposed conditions are not consistent with your plan to operate the short term rental, or your application is not approved, you may need to appeal the decision.
We will be happy to assist you with any advice in respect of the above process. Please make an appointment with our team and we can provide situation-specific advice.