The strata title industry in Queensland applauds a ruling by the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, clarifying the lawful use of class 2 (residential) buildings for short-term stays and holiday letting.
The Australian Building Code defines Class 2 buildings as containing two or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate dwelling. Apartments are class 2 buildings.
The ruling is regarded by the industry as vitally important – especially in major holiday letting markets like the Gold and Sunshine Coasts – in clarifying the letting rights of strata title owners and managers.
This ruling came after Melbourne City Council and a group of unit owners in a residential building at Docklands claimed that short term letting of apartments in the building was unlawful and that such use was only permitted in class 3 buildings that are explicitly residential.
Strata Community Australia (Qld), the peak body for the multi billion dollar Body Corporate and Community Title Management industry in Queensland, says the clarified definition of “dwelling” in the Building Code of Australia is a positive and vital step forward in clarifying the lawful letting of class 2 building units (like most holiday apartment buildings).
Strata Community Australia (Qld) President, Simon Barnard, said today the sector supports the decision, and believes it will benefit both the property and tourism industries.
“This ruling will provide a precedent for the many investment owners as well as management rights operators of residential apartment complexes throughout Queensland and Australia”, Mr Barnard said.
“It is reassuring having this ruling in place in Victoria. If the same dispute was to occur in Queensland it will now be much easier to protect the many investors who purchase units in high-tourist areas, with the clear intention of renting the properties to holiday makers, for short periods of time”
“The Queensland tourism and property investment market rely heavily on the return from short term stays and holiday letting in areas like the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. The Supreme Court ruling provides confidence that the Building Code will now be applied correctly in short term and holiday apartments.”
The Court of Appeal found that the use of the word “dwelling” in the relevant definition did not limit the residential use to permanent or long term residence. The concept of dwelling encompasses short term and holiday accommodation and there is no basis for limiting the word dwelling to just long term residential use.