An award-winning Russell tourism operator is calling for a Far North District Council clampdown on peer-to-peer internet-rented short term accommodation in private residential homes in the Bay of Islands tourism hotspot.
"It's past time for Far North District Council to have taken action on this," John Tilton, Russell Top 10 Holiday Park owner said.
He is calling on FNDC to enforce planning rules and require resource consents for those who are turning their residential dwellings into commercial operations by letting them out through peer-to-peer internet-rented short term accommodation such as Airbnb.
"Council has to understand its lack of action on this has an impact on bona fide commercial operators who have gone through all the correct procedures," Tilton said.
"What I am asking them to do is to enforce their planning rules."
Tilton told the council there were now 200 residential dwellings in Russell offering such short term accommodation, up from 20 just three years ago. The 200 dwellings made more than half the dwellings in Russell.
The FNDC needed to start work now on the matter's resolution to ensure it was sorted out as soon as possible, he said. Tilton spoke on the matter to FNDC's council meeting in Kaikohe.
"I am bringing the problem to the attention of the council to resolve a problem only they can address," he said.
The matter needed resolving, at least in time for the next peak tourism season that started in October. It was also impacting through winter.
Peer-to-peer internet-rented short term tourist accommodation has emerged as a major challenge for councils in tourism hotspots including Queenstown, Wanaka, Rotorua and Auckland.
Tilton told councillors Queenstown had already resolved the same situation.
"Queenstown has addressed this situation. Any person renting out their residential property via internet-based short term accommodation is required to have resource consent," he said.
Auckland Council's website says anybody in its rohe who has an online accommodation property and rents it out for more than 28 days a year must pay business rates and accommodation provider targeted rates. Westland District Council online accommodation property hosts must pay commercial rates.
Tilton said all Russell residential properties being let out as peer-to-peer internet-rented short term holiday accommodation in this way should require mandatory registration with FNDC. That registration should collect details including the number of days rented out annually. The properties should also need certification that they meet minimum fire, hygiene and safety standards.
Such properties needed to be commercially rated. Any non-registered properties of this type should face substantial fines.
All properties should need to sign up to a mandatory code of conduct and a framework should be put in place to deal with complaints, he said.