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Letters to the Editor - August 2015

28 Jul 2015

Disappointment over short-stay decision

Re: Victory for short-stays by Bethany Williams; July 2015, issue 110.

It was with disappointment, sadness and fear for the future that I read your article, which may as well have been titled “Devastating loss to current and future apartment owner-occupiers”.

My husband and I purchased an apartment within the Watergate Apartments late last year with complete ignorance to the issue of short-stays. We have been adapting to, and predominantly enjoying, our lifestyle change while trying to integrate into our new community and culture.

We are not wealthy people, working three jobs between us, including shift work. We paid a substantial amount for our apartment and continue to pay notable amounts for our body corporate, council rates, etc. I don’t understand how it can be okay for opportunists to let, or even sublet apartments (yes some of those available for short-stays are rented for the purpose), out of pure drive for profit if those representing the owners/residents don’t want it and clearly state that it is not allowable.

If the legislation allows this then why doesn’t it protect me and my investment by at least requiring them to pay extra for the building wear and tear? I wasn’t allowed to use the gym or pool without an induction for my safety and preservation of the equipment, but I’ve known short-stay people to roll up with no respect or consideration.

Though Mr Salter’s website clearly states this is not a hotel his guests obviously consider it as one and come here to use it as such. We didn’t purchase our property to live in a hotel! We knew the rules before we purchased (that stays less than 30 days are not allowable) along with all the other rules and that’s what we chose to buy into. What other loop holes will be exploited? Will they next decide to put bunk beds in and operate a backpackers? Thanks for nothing VCAT!      

And how ridiculous that the Consumer Affairs Minister appointed seven member panel to look at the impact of short-stay accommodation in residential buildings includes Mr Salter? Surely as a short-stay operator and president of the VAIA there is an obvious bias and conflict of interest. Did the panel include anyone who the public would assume to be clearly against short-stays? Clearly Mr Salter would be in favour of short-stays and recommending/influencing others in their favour! Mr Salter thanked Ms Rowland for her decision and then commented on the tourist benefits - NOTHING for the owner-occupier or residents! What rubbish about enhancing the fabric of the Melbourne community. The people coming here for short-stays are not joining the community!

The State Government seriously needs to look at this issue. My husband has already had several negative experiences with short-stay guests treating our ‘home’ poorly and behaving inappropriately and I’ve had several suitcase injury near-misses and inability to use the lift due to crowding. Now the apartment across from us is also to become a ‘hotel’ room so that owner gets a greater return from their investment while my body corporate fees subsidise it. Thanks again VCAT and the State Government for allowing me to buy into feeling uncomfortable walking in or out of my own front door, using the gym, elevator, etc; and having to contend with noise and disruptions.

Under the current legislation, any person who is considering purchasing an apartment in Docklands or other areas should seriously reconsider unless they would also like to live in a hotel!
Yours truly
Kelly Mercer

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