Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments and Docklands – The Greens’ plan to change the law to support residents

The rapid growth in serviced apartments in Docklands, the CBD and some other areas in Melbourne has had a significant impact on the amenity and quality of living in Docklands in particular.

Increase in noise, disruptive behaviour and disproportionate use of shared facilities by short-term tenants are some of the problems experienced by long-term residents. Serviced apartments, where management or owners have little or no connection to the apartment building, are a particular problem.

The Greens are committed to addressing these issues and have been working with residents groups and individual residents to try and find solutions to the problems.

Recent court action has further highlighted the problems but not resolved them.

The government has failed to act on the issue and the Labor opposition has only committed to a review.

As a result, the Greens will take action.

Australian Greens candidate for Melbourne Ellen Sandell will introduce a bill into Parliament to amend the Owners Corporations Act 2006 to regulate serviced and short-stay apartments, while protecting the use of Airbnb and other services by genuine individual residents who call Docklands home.

The amendment will ensure that commercial apartment stays in Docklands, and in any other areas declared by the Minister to be a ‘residential apartment area’, must be a minimum of 28 days, except in the situation where genuine individual residents who call Docklands home arrange for temporary occupation of their primary place of residence while away on temporary absence. Owners corporations will have the power to decide to allow alternative arrangements.

The bill will apply to all existing residences covered by the Owners Corporations Act in Docklands
We will not take a wrecking ball to the burgeoning ‘share-economy’, including genuine residents who want to allow use of their properties during short-term absences, but we will ensure residents’ rights are protected.

Our bill would strike the right balance between protecting residents from the abuse fostered by the growth in serviced apartments which have no connection to residents, and the rights of residents to be able to share their apartments on services like Airbnb. The Greens would introduce the bill and then initiate a parliamentary inquiry into the bill and other relevant planning laws to ensure Docklands and other CBD residents’ needs are addressed.

An exposure draft of the bill will be made available to Docklands residents and stakeholders for consultation before its introduction.

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