City of Bayswater to host workshops to refine Airbnb policy

City of Bayswater to host workshops to refine Airbnb policy

CITY of Bayswater council will conduct workshops to refine its proposed short-term accommodation policy after it knocked back a draft policy at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

Council were recommended to adopt the modified policy, which included a restriction of four guests and required the keeper to reside on the premise when there was a guest.

Two City residents and Airbnb owners presented deputations and urged council to defer its decision and seek community consultation.

Council had previously voted to defer its decision in 2015 and again in February.

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Councillor Sally Palmer’s alternative motion to defer the decision and conduct workshops with council, staff and business owners to discuss hygiene, the quota of guests and the areas for Airbnb was passed 5-4.

Cr Catherine Ehrhardt, whose brother Andrew Ehrhardt made a deputation, declared she earned an income from the business and did not vote.

Mr Ehrhardt said the draft policy was potentially “poorly formed”.

“The requirements should be linked to how many rooms but it can be problematic,” he said.

“Many people are not in the house with those staying there…guests do not expect them to be there.”

Fellow Airbnb owner Kathryn Gordon said the policy needed to be taken to business owners for consultation.

“What I see with the proposal, I get that not everyone does the wrong thing but I have done nothing wrong,” she said.

“The policy will mean more work for what we are smoothly running for our guests.

“It immediately puts me in a pickle because I could potentially be accommodating eight people of decency because of my behavioural management plan.”

Ms Gordon said her neighbours were happy with her Airbnb property.

“We are now in our fifth year and we have been absolutely delighted with the people we have met and we are proud of the Bayswater community,” she said.

“We as a family don’t want to always stay in a hotel.”

Planning and development services director Des Abel said if business owners wanted to accommodate more than four guests, they would need to apply for a development approval.

“It costs about $150 per application…an approval can run indefinitely with council approval,” he said.

Mayor Barry McKenna said council would not want to “cut the red tape” in passing the draft policy.

“I hate to have eight people staying in a house with one toilet… a number of amendments can be considered,” he said.

“I do not want an applicant coming here every time if they have an Airbnb application.”