Can I stop Airbnb in our apartment building?
All residents in a development are subject to house rules, including tenants of any duration and owner-occupiers. These normally contain rules in relation to noise and security and would normally be the first port of call for an OMC in dealing with such matters. However, if there are a number of complaints arising in a development, the issue for an OMC is that it is not practical for it to monitor individual units engaging in short-term lettings, some of which may be causing problems and some of which may not be. As such, the view increasingly taken by owners is to ban short-term holiday lets.
Property owners are also bound by the lease agreement they sign when they purchase a property. While most leases pre-date internet-based letting services, the lease may contain a prohibition on certain types of activity (such as running a business from the apartment) and your OMC may have relied on the lease provisions when introducing its ban on short-term lets. In some developments, the original planning permission will have certain conditions, for example, that properties would be for residential use only and not holiday use, so your OMC may be relying on this. It is possible that, in new residential developments, leases may be more explicit about the use of a property for short-term holiday lets.
In relation to planning, even though there is no original condition on this, planning authorities have decided in a number of cases that ongoing use of a full apartment for short-term holiday lets is a material ‘change of use’ and, as such, requires the owner to apply for approval of this. Guidelines issued by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government state that planning authorities should be proactive in ensuring short-term letting activity complies with the planning code and the guidelines have noted the negative impact of short-term letting on the long-term rental market. Further guidelines are expected from the department in 2018.
As such, you do of course have the right to raise your points with your OMC and its managing agent or at a future AGM of members. However, if the members of the OMC have considered this matter and come to a clear conclusion, you may now need to move to a standard long-term letting arrangement, in what is at least a strong letting market for landlords.