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Is the Party Over for “Party Houses”?

In April 2015 the Queensland Government passed laws giving new planning powers to local councils to ban short-term accommodation used as party houses in their council areas.

While legislation was passed about party houses last year, councils did not have the means to enforce the party house ban. The Temporary Local Planning Instrument approved by the Deputy Premier and Planning Minister has at last provided a legal definition of a “party house” which will allow councils to regulate them.

In the Gold Coast and Hinterland area alone, there are an estimated 700 unregistered party houses.

Once a house is reported to Council as a “party house”, Council officers will investigate and require the owner of the property to apply for a development approval in order to continue operating the party house as a business. If the owner ignores that requirement, Council will issue a Show Cause Notice to the owner and commence legal proceedings.

The Gold Coast City Council will have a year to test the legislation and, if it works, the Council will amend its planning scheme to make the process permanent.

Community groups support the proposed plans as a way of reducing or stopping over-crowding, property damage and insurance voiding that often results from short-term letting.

Opponents of the new laws believe the state government should fund more police to control the noise and property damage caused by the use of party houses, instead of pushing the enforcement costs on to local councils which may need to increase rates to cover their costs.