The Community Scheme Ombud Service recently dealt with an adjudication on short term letting. The scheme in question had an Ombud approved rule restricting letting of units for periods shorter than 6 months. Some owners were using their units for AirB&B lets, and the body corporate applied to the CSOS for help. The application made by the trustees was for an order that the short term letting rule was reasonable and to enforce the rule against specific owners.
As we all know, short term letting has always been problematic but has become a real bone of contention since the rapid rise of platforms like AirB&B and Safarinow. On the one hand, owners want to take advantage of their right to deal with their properties as they please, in this case taking the abundant civil fruits of ownership (short term rentals). On the other hand, many owners in permanent residence regard short term tenants as a nuisance and a threat to their physical security.
However, the point of this post is not to argue the relative merits of short term lets – a term that has never been defined, by the way – but to point out that according to the adjudicator in this case, the CSOS does not have the jurisdiction either to rule on the reasonableness of a rule or, more importantly, to make an order that enforces a rule!
An application for dispute resolution to the CSOS must state what relief the applicant seeks, and that relief can only be one of the “prayers for relief” set out in section 39 of the CSOS Act. There is no prayer for relief that enforces any rule, conduct or management.
Click this link to access the CSOS Act in our Library, scroll down to section 39 and have a look for yourself!