The average price for rentals are cheaper in Sydney than Byron Bay.
The average price for rentals are cheaper in Sydney than Byron Bay. DAVID NIELSEN

$10,000 fines weekly for illegal holiday letting

RESIDENTS of the Byron Shire could receive fines of up to $10,000 if they are found to be illegally holiday letting.

Mayor Simon Richardson told the ABC the decision was made by council in the hope it will aid the housing crisis in the shire.

"(If) there are 2500 houses now used for short term letting, that's 2500 houses that could be filled with the local community members,” Cr Richardson told ABC.

"We have prices that are very similar to Melbourne and Sydney and yet we have nowhere near the average salary.

"We are increasingly unable to live in our own shire and that is only exacerbated as more and more houses come off the long-term rental market and into short term rental.”

The proposed resolution is for council to make it very clear for tenants to not use their residence for tourist uses.

"We've sent letters out already requesting them to let us know what their uses are and follow up letter will be going out in about two weeks,” Cr Richardson said.

"We are not trying to close the door completely, we just want to be able to have a say on how that might occur, we want people who do use holiday letting to put in a DA.”

The council said it will be using various means to combat and prosecute those not following the rules.

"We will commence issuing fines, they are up to $10,000 and we can issue them on a weekly basis until the activity changes,” the mayor said.

Cr Richardson is also calling on the State Government to recognise communities are different and have varying needs.

"Ultimately we would love the State Government to look at individual communities and try to empower individual communities to respond to short term holiday letting how they need.

"We are different to Sydney, it seems the only conversation really left going on is about strata apartments in the CBD and the inner suburbs of Sydney but for areas like Byron Bay that's just not good enough.”