Airbnb battle

FOR the second time in just over five months, Vincent council has voted unanimously to stop a homeowner from Airbnb-ing his heritage-listed cottage.

The 58 heritage-listed workers cottages in the Moir and Brookman Streets precinct are the kind of neighbourly area you’d see on a 1950s TV show: Everyone knows everyone, they hold community events and in 2017 the precinct won a UNESCO award for cultural heritage conservation.

But the owner of 8 Moir Street, Boaz Kogon, lives overseas and prefers to rent out his place via online services like Airbnb.

After going through a number of long term tenants that weren’t up to scratch, he began renting it out short term, which also meant he could stay there when he was back in Perth.

But the cottage is close to the nightclub strip and neighbours started reporting loud noise and partying from Airbnbers staying there.

When Mr Boaz first starting renting it out online in 2017 he didn’t have approval from Vincent council. He applied for retrospective approval in October last year (paying three times the usual fee as a penalty for operating it unauthorised), but the council said no because of the “likely noise, parking and traffic”.

He appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal, which “invited” Vincent council to reconsider its decision.

Gallery

At the Tuesday April 2 council meeting Moir and Brookman residents came out in force to oppose it – nearly filling the entire seating area in the public gallery.

Mr Boaz’ mum told the meeting they had a solid management plan in place now and argued short term rental could actually be beneficial since a bad tenant can be ousted quickly, while it’s an arduous process to get rid of a troublesome long-term renter on a lease.

But councillors heeded the majority view and unanimously voted against approving it for short term use.

Deputy mayor Susan Gontaszewski said “I don’t consider that this type of short term accommodation as proposed, where a caretaker does not reside on site, to be suitable at this location”. She said the houses have common walls and there’s “a limited ability to design out impacts from neighbouring properties”.

She said “the views of the local community are clear and they have seen and reported to us what they have experienced in terms of a negative impact to amenity when the management plan is not in place or not adhered to”.

Vincent mayor Emma Cole said “we are dealing with the Brookman and Moir Street precinct…an intact residential neighbourhood in Northbridge, very close to the city. This is actually an incredibly rare thing to have”. She said short term stayers coming and going was very different to long term tenants with a more stable routine and added “if we did allow this, it would potentially lead to further applications”.

Mr Kogon has the option to go back to SAT to appeal the decision again.

by DAVID BELL

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