Noosa Town Plan ChangesShort Term Accommodation (holiday homes) to be made inconsistent in Low-Density Residential ZonesImportant information on Noosa Town Plan changes regarding Short Term Accommodation (STA), including:
How property owners may be affected
What an owner’s Existing Use Rights are
Independent legal advice on what an owner may choose to do to maintain an Existing Use Right
Please note: The information is presented as a community information service and does not represent the legal opinion of Noosa Retreats, the NSTAA (Noosa Short Term Accommodation Association) or its members. Noosa Retreats has obtained this independent advice based on helping property owners that may be affected. We recommend that any individual owner seek their own legal opinion and we cannot take responsibility or be held liable for any matter resulting from any action that an owner may take because of this advice. To see the Noosa Plan Zones (2020) and search your property to check what Zone your property is in, go to the Noosa Shire Council Zone Map. The zoning information is found under the 'Land Parcels' information to the right of the map. Go down the list to find 'Noosa Plan Zones (2020) and your zone is displayed here. Click on the icon in the top right corner of the map page (next to the printer icon), to display the map legend. Alternatively, use the PDF zoning maps provided by council of the entire shire. Are you a property investor in Noosa, wishing for more advice or information on the Noosa Town Plan changes? Please contact Trish on 0411644822 or via email. New Town Plan commencement – changes to use of houses for short term accommodation in Low Density Residential zone. On 16 July 2020, Noosa Council adopted a new town plan, being Noosa Plan 2020. One of the new provisions in Noosa Plan 2020, is that Short-term accommodation is now an inconsistent use in the Low Density Residential zone, and would require an impact assessment development application. This only applies if a new use is proposed in the Low Density Residential zone. Approval now required for houses wanting to undertake short term accommodation for the first time. Short-term letting of an entire dwelling for more than 60 days or four occurrences in a calendar year is an inconsistent use in the Low Density Residential zone and requires an impact assessment application. Approval is required if you do not have existing use rights to short term let and are proposing to start Short-term letting of an entire dwelling house on a regular or ongoing basis for the first time.
What does this mean for you? This means that under this plan, Council proposes that any affected property owner, may lose their future right of choice, to holiday-let their house (for short-term accommodation) on a full-time basis, if they are not currently doing so. If a property is not currently being used for short-term accommodation, on a full-time basis, this change has the potential to affect your right to choose how your property may be used. It may affect the capital value of your house and possibly affect your ability to sell your house in the future. If you do currently use your property for short term accommodation on a full-time basis, with the exception of when you occasionally stay at the property, then you may continue to do so. If your property has been used in the past for short term accommodation as a consistent use, then you may make a submission to Council to maintain that Existing Use Right, within a limited time. If your property has not ever been used for short term accommodation it means you do not have an Existing Use Right. You may make an application under the superseded planning scheme to request approval to operate short term accommodation, within a limited time. The following information explains all of this in more detail. Note if your property is in a different zone to the low density residential zone, then holiday accommodation on a full-time basis is considered a Consistent Use. For new developments in those zones, a Development Application is now required (whereas it was not, under the superseded scheme).
Noosa Shire Council Summary New Town Plan commencement – changes to use of houses for short term accommodation in Low Density Residential zone On 16 July 2020, Noosa Council adopted a new town plan, being Noosa Plan 2020. One of the new provisions in Noosa Plan 2020, is that Short-term accommodation is now an inconsistent use in the Low Density Residential zone, and would require an impact assessment development application. This only applies if a new use is proposed in the Low Density Residential zone. Approval now required for houses wanting to undertake short term accommodation for the first time Short-term letting of an entire dwelling for more than 60 days or four occurrences in a calendar year is an inconsistent use in the Low Density Residential zone and requires an impact assessment application. Approval is required if you do not have existing use rights to short term let and are proposing to start Short-term letting of an entire dwelling house on a regular or ongoing basis for the first time. Owners of properties currently operating as a holiday let property – no approval needed Before the commencement of Noosa Plan 2020, planning approval was not required for a detached house to be used for short term letting. If there has been a consistent pattern of the house being generally available for short-term accommodation prior to the commencement of Noosa Plan 2020, then the site may be considered to have existing use rights. If the use continues substantially in the same form then it continues to be protected, despite the commencement of Noosa Plan 2020. Properties currently operating short term accommodation who believe they were operating lawfully prior to Noosa Plan 2020 and have existing use rights can continue to operate without further planning approval. Only properties wishing to confirm they have existing use rights in writing need to make an application for existing use rights confirmation. It is not intended that every short-term accommodation operators make an application to confirm they have existing use rights unless the property owner requests confirmation and / or is unsure. However, if there is a compliance matter that raises questions regarding the legitimacy of a property being used for short-term accommodation, evidence will need to be provided to demonstrate the property has lawful existing use rights. Should the use of the house for short-term accommodation cease and be abandoned or change in scale and intensity, then the existing use rights may also cease. Note NSTAA comment: Owners currently operating a holiday let, especially if for less than 6-months prior to the implementation of the Noosa Plan 2020 on 31 July 2020, may wish to consider independent advice and the option of making the below $631 application to be 100% certain of maintaining this right. Owners of properties that are not currently operating STA, but believe they have an Existing Use Right as a holiday let property – can apply to establish that right An application form will be available for applicants to apply for A Written Advice Notice from Council. A fee of $631 will be charged in accordance with Council’s Fees and Charges Schedule 2020-21. The applicant will require evidence of past use and any other supporting information. Evidence includes for example, letter head property management agreements, letter head online booking platform agreements, commencement dates, advertised property listings, booking history etc. A written advice will be issued within 10 business days advising of the assessment of existing use rights. Applications will be administered through the Development Assessment Branch with existing resources. Whilst the Act refers to “immediately prior” generally an existing lawful use should not be a one off, but have been operating with a consistent pattern prior to commencement to Noosa Plan 2020. The use must have commenced, and cannot rely on an intention to commence the use. Similarly a one-off use of a house for short term purposes is unlikely to create an existing lawful use right. Such a one-off use would be more in the nature of a temporary use. A more consistent pattern of conduct involving the house being generally available for short term use would need to be demonstrated. This would be assessed on a case by case basis. Owners of properties that have no existing use rights as a holiday let – may apply Superseded Planning Scheme applications - 12 month window from 31st July 2020 to apply for short term accommodation under the previous town plan. Dwelling houses that have not operated short- term accommodation and have no prior consistent pattern of undertaking such a use prior to the commencement of Noosa Plan 2020, do not have existing use rights to operate short-term accommodation. A superseded planning scheme request is for properties that have no existing use rights. A superseded planning scheme request allows a property owner to make a request to apply for short-term accommodation under the provisions of the superseded planning scheme being Noosa Plan 2006. $1380 is the adopted fee for a superseded planning scheme requests under Council’s Fees and Charges Schedule 2020-21 to cover Council’s costs of assessing and deciding the request. Council is able to charge a fee for superseded planning scheme requests as per the Planning Regulation 2017, Part 2, Division 3 s11(2)(g). Once a request has been made, within 30 business days Council will decide whether or not to agree to the request. In determining whether or not to agree to a superseded planning scheme request, Council may consider a range of factors, including the character of the street in which the property is located, the prevalence of short-term letting in the street and the potential impacts of the use on neighbouring residential amenity. Council will issue a Decision Notice to the applicant notifying of Council’s decision. If the Decision Notice approves the request no further planning approval is required for short term accommodation of a dwelling house. The currency period and the approval is for six years from the date of the Decision Notice, meaning the short term accommodation must be commenced within that timeframe for the approval to remain current.
Properties currently short term letting :
If the property has been used for short term accommodation in the past, in any capacity, prior to the new Town Plan, and you have not abandoned that use, and you have some evidence (such as a tax return, receipt or statement from a managing agent or Airbnb) then you may have an Existing Use Right. You can submit the Written Advice Notice from Council. A fee of $631 will be charged in accordance with Council’s Fees and Charges Schedule 2020-21. * Note: Council may consider abandonment which may include the period of time since you have used the property for STA. Properties not currently short term letting :
If a property has not been used for short term accommodation in the past, but you want to maintain the right of choice that you had under the old scheme, you can apply under the superseded planning scheme for a period of 12 months from start of the new scheme, which became effective on 31 July 2020. Council can approve the application under the superseded planning scheme. The application is however at Council discretion. Therefore, the application may not be approved. If an application is made and it is not approved, you may be eligible for compensation and may consider seeking legal opinion regarding that. The Special Council meeting on the town plan indicated that the cost of the application would be $1380.