The Short Stay creep continues in our streets

While Noosa Council may have its toes lightly on the brake, our out-of-control Short Term Rental market continues to gather pace and create havoc in local neighbourhoods..

This shadow hotel sector is still spreading through what used to be ‘residential’ streets – even after Queensland’s first Short Stay Letting Local Law was adopted by our Council.

In the approach to the last Local Government elections, some vested interests (and candidates) were downplaying the issue.  

But as we now know, Noosa already has three times the Short Term Rental property density of the average in 43 European cities.

When it adopted the Local Law, Council said it would rein in growth, but in the 18 months to last October the number of dwellings offered for short term rent increased by 5.7 per cent. Council also said there would be no new short-term accommodation (STA) approved in Low Density Residential zones. Yet the number in these zones increased by 12.1 per cent. 

At the Council’s General Committee meeting last November, the Mayor said that 322 of the approvals were a result of existing use rights, planning approvals, or rights under the superseded Noosa Plan 2006.  Only 18 approvals – 15 in medium and high-density residential zones and three in rural areas – were new approvals. Sensitive to social media claims of ‘thousands and thousands of SSL approvals made by this Council’, the Mayor asked that these numbers be ‘absolutely on record’.  

The council has also agreed to a recommendation for new restrictions on short term accommodation approvals in Medium and High Density Residential areas. 

“There is compelling economic and social argument for this proposal,” according to the consultant AEC Group, engaged by Council to assess economic and social impacts of the Noosa Plan 2020 as they relate to short term accommodation, tourism and housing supply. 

AEC said its comments were based on “the identified constraints placed on the local economy and community from a lack of available and affordable housing for residents and workers”.

“Securing future housing supply within these zones – in addition to the LDR (Low Density Residential) zone – for residents and workers (versus short stay accommodation) will ease some of the pressures that presently exist.

 “Without further action, it is unlikely that the identified imbalance in the housing stock will be appropriately addressed, and the economy and community will continue to be constrained.”

Council has been refusing STA applications in medium and high-density residential zones. It is understood that planning scheme STA amendments in all zones will shortly be announced. Their effectiveness will be carefully assessed by residents who fear that without stringent controls the ‘creep’ in new approvals could become a flood if real estate investor pressure continues.

As well as Noosa having three times greater Short Term Rental density than the European average, short term rental occupancy rates are even higher, with little doubt they contribute to peak period traffic and parking chaos, and stretch carrying capacity at key tourist sites.

While we are constantly hearing from our Council about what it’s doing to address the STA disaster, and we applaud the adoption of the Local Law, many in our community are still asking – “is it enough to turn my street back into a neighbourhood?”


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    Well said Roland. It is possibly THE major concern facing our community as it feeds into many of the other issues such as affordable housing, transport, traffic, congestion, parking, access to recreation spaces, pressure on infrastructure, and of course the liveability of Noosa for permanent residents.

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