AirBNB in Body Corporate Estates

So we have just purchased a very expensive property in far North Queensland, Australia with the full intention of holiday rentals until we can move there permanently. The estate has an electronic gate (to keep out the riff raff like us) and no one from the body corporate approached us prior to us getting there 3 weeks after settlement - we spent over $100K kitting out the house and now they are telling us they are going to oppose it. There’s nothing in the bylaws that says it’s against their rules and we still need to get a permit from the Council but I feel like they all hate us before they’ve even met us despite our reassurances that there will be strict codes of conduct all guests must meet and sign (no parties, bucks, hens, etc.) but they are still PISSED at us and I’m very sad about it and wondering if anyone has faced similar circumstances?

You didn’t confirm that you were able to STR before you purchased?


Sorry. Your bad. You should have had “permission to sublet” or whatever it’s called there, in writing, before signing anything or spending more than a dollar! Nothing we can do to help except offer a shoulder to weep on. Nothing you can do except fight it any way you can.

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I believe that upscale gated community is pissed of even a possibility to have strangers in there . But did they show you rules that forbids vacation rentals? Very often rules are created all of a sudden that didn’t exist before

They might have had experience of this in the past and know only too well that homeowners can have rules about these things until the cows come home, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen.

That’s like thinking that putting up a ‘maximum 30 mph’ sign would have no-one breaking the speed limit.

You say that no-one met with you but did you go out of your way to meet them? Or determine that STR was allowed?

Anyway, I’ve had a sort of similar situation with a HOA in that they were at one time fine with STR, then a few bad experiences soured them. Then when the dreaded Airbnb was mentioned, they were even more against it.

I persuaded them to let me have a trial period and during that time I would a) ensure that all rules (mine and the HOA’s) were obeyed thoroughly and b) that I’d immediately kick out any guests who were breaking any rules or creating a nuisance in any way.

That was years ago and worked just fine.

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It sounds from your description that you did miss the boat both in establishing relationships and writing your contract. You could, I guess, 1. Proceed. Decide you’ll live with the ill will and haters, even after your permanent move – requires thick skin and definitely get legal advice about how they could thwart you. 2. Switch to LTR. If that’s allowed, you will at least recoup something. 3. Go on a belated charm offensive. Throw a party, invite all the neighbors, share your plans to STR and offer ridiculous low rates to their visiting friends and family, tell the management people they can use your property for events and sale tours, etc. Part of this scheme could be to assure them you will book only through personal relationships and not list on any platform where the riff-raff could get access.
Another way is to spend a year or so being of being a great neighbor and schmoozing with the body corporate masters to demonstrate that you are a trustworthy member of the community, and making lots and lots o’ friends so you can get on the condo board, or the resident advisory counsel, or whatever y’all have in Australia, but that doesn’t work in absentia.

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How will you manage it long distance?
Have you been in the hospitality business before?
Who would your neighbours inform if there is a problem?
A signed piece of paper means nothing.

Yes and no. The body corporate can’t stop us, it’s a town planning permit we need which we couldn’t apply for until the title of the house was in our name.

Do you need DA?
Will cairns City Coucil be writing to your direct neighbours to tell them of your plans?
You spent $100 k fitting out the house?
What did you buy?
Guests don’t value your furnishings or finishes.
( My beautiful new marble bathroom spattered with black hair dye that etched the tiles permanently and was hell to remove.)

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Thanks everyone for your replies. When I say no one approached us - I should have clarified. Firstly, all the homes are set a long distance apart, there’s many vacant lots still and only 3 other homes on our street, none of which you can see apart from a roof line. They all have steep driveways and I didn’t want to go knocking on anyone’s doors. However, they had our details and knowledge of our plans the day we bought the house and told the real estate agent (it’s a very gossipy place). We then bought furniture communicating back and forth with a local furniture shop, had it all delivered and installed and then went up there recently to do the soft furnishings before I finally, finally chased down a neighbour I saw out the front to introduce myself and that’s when she told me they were going to oppose us on the town planning permit. So, we did do our homework. I was disappointed that the President of the committee didn’t at least have the courtesy of shooting us an email when they learned of our plans (we had zero clue anyone would care) and then we would have refrained from kitting it out until we had the permit. We have employed an agent to look after all the bookings, vet the guests, let them in with keys and take the keys upon vacating. Their code of conduct is very strict and they will have to pay $5K if they breach any of their guidelines which I tried to explain to everyone. Also no one will have the gate code, just a fob and if they lose or damage it they will have to pay to have it replaced or re-code the gate. I explained all of that at length in an email but they still not happy so,

We have an agent looking after it for us.

I’ve not had to deal with anything like this, but I believe that what you needed through this whole process was an attorney.

No one should go into a venture like this without doing all the due diligence (or employing an attorney to do that). I doubt that a qualified attorney would have advised you to go ahead with the purchase of this place, given your intention to do short-term rental there.

I know that this “what you should have done” lesson isn’t helpful for you now. But it might be for some other prospective host who happens to read this.

I hope you come up with a solution.

How are you collecting the $5k security?
Airbnb May mention a deposit, but they don’t actually collect it.
Is the agent available 24 hours a day?
What demographic are you hoping to attract?
Other management committees of strata areas have made it hell for hosts by limiting keys/ fobs, disallowing guests access to community assets, limiting parking and a really unwelcoming attitude.
I can understand why your neighbours are pissed. You describe it as a gated community and the other properties appear to be very private. You want to introduce bunches of complete strangers who will want to do their own thing because they have paid to use your house.
No wonder they have their backs up!

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I think you need to do some research on how Airbnb works- you seem a bit naive there. Who exactly will force guests to pay $5K if they “breach guidelines?”

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@muddy, that’s a very good point. Guests aren’t bound by the code of conduct. I imagine only the owner of the property is.

It’s a house so they can’t limit parking and we only share a common road and the gate and the agent has the keys and fobs and is available 24 hours a day

Then you must be paying a massive commission!
The agent I use is only available M-F. 9-5.
Thank god I was completely available last weekend for a huge muck up with bookings…
With all the issues STR is having worldwide, the poor reputation with management issues and the local community against you I think you will be having major issues getting your permit.
Best of luck and do some research!

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Being brutally honest, it’s sounds like you didn’t really do the research here.

Unless you’re taking an actual $5,000 bond, either in cash or by CC, good luck on collecting it; and it doesn’t matter what jurisdiction you’re under.

But of course I forgot, STR is easy money, isn’t it?


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This is confusing me. If this is mandated by the governing body of the properties, surely it would be the homeowner who was responsible for fees for infringements?

Of course, it may be different where you are but here when a HOA have a system of fines for infringements it’s always the homeowner who is responsible. I’ve even known this be the case when the perpetrator has been long term tenants but I don’t think there’d be any chance of getting a STR guest to pay up. Even getting them to pay up for a lost fob would be tricky.

Scrabble at €10 a point?


It’s the management company who have the 5k whatever its called.