Schoolies 2016 is about to commence on the Gold Coast and on the schoolies.com website they have the countdown ticking down to the last second. Starting with Queensland school leavers on 19th – 26th November, followed by New South Wales and Victoria over two weeks from the 26th November to the 10th December. Like it or not 15,000 Schoolies from New South Wales and Victoria are expected to hit the Gold Coast this year.

“Schoolies Week is considered by some as a rite of passage in Australia, it is an in between phase or transition time in terms of social status. After graduating high school, young people can emerge into the adult world, beyond high school and into a life of their own design. Schoolies Week is a celebration to mark this event or transition”.  (Schoolies.org)

Since it’s beginning in the 1970’s at a Broadbeach Hotel, Schoolies has grown into a $100 million cash injection for the Gold Coast. Predominately it has been the Gold Coast where the majority of school leavers came to recover from the years of schooling they have endured, now students are spreading out with thousands now heading to more dangerous and less policed areas such as Bali and Thailand.

At Surfers Paradise where Schoolies dominate, it is widely discussed and questions raised about the benefit and community impact of Schoolies Week. Other community impact issues surrounding Schoolies Week include noise, litter, vandalism and damage to hotel and other property. Local tourist focused businesses catering to traditional tourists have complained of Schoolies only spending their tourist dollars at limited outlets. However, the history of Schoolies reveals that Schoolies Week is a non-peak tourist slot that was otherwise a down time for tourism, this leaves the accommodation provider that is not embracing the schoolies weeks with a 3 week gap to fill as the usual clients would not want to be caught up in the crazy world of partying school leavers.

For the accommodation industry, it is a decision as to whether small to medium accommodation providers wish to invite school leavers into their properties or whether it is safer to use this time to solve any maintenance and housekeeping issues ready for Christmas peak season. With the risks involved and the laws in place it is no wonder that some smaller accommodation providers have decided not to be a part of the Schoolies invasion.

According to the Queensland Government Schoolies website, Accommodation Providers must be aware of the following:

– Accommodation rules should not impose any obligations on people staying at apartments during Schoolies that would not be imposed on residents at other times of year. It is advisable to draft appropriate year-round rules. For example, you should only impose noise restrictions and charge schoolies a bond if this is normal practice for all tenants.

– Clearly outline your house rules and terms and conditions (including any regarding room inspections and balcony access) when you first take an enquiry from a potential guest, prior to accepting a booking, a payment or check in. Include any cancellation fees or charges in your booking terms and conditions.

– Provide third-party booking agencies with a copy of your correct, current house rules and terms and conditions, and confirm these are forwarded to potential guests that may book.

– Rules should state the behaviours that will result in eviction and include an eviction warning process and not have the potential to result in harsh or unfair consequences for tenants.

– If a breach of the rules takes place warning processes should be implemented and eviction of tenants should only happen in extreme circumstances.

– Room inspections can only occur if they are stated in your house rules and the customer has given signed consent for the inspection.  A room cannot be entered without a valid and tangible reason, such as the likelihood of imminent danger to person or property, if consent is not held.

– Each apartment building should have an accessible complaint-handling and dispute-resolution process guide available for tenants.

– Retain supporting information relating to any bond deductions, e.g. diary notes, photographs, entry and exit reports or pages of an incident register.

– If there is to be a deduction to the bond, you should provide a written explanation of the damage done or loss incurred and the reason for the deduction within 48 hours of the customers check out.

– Accommodation providers can not discriminate on who the occupants are regardless of the unit owner’s preferences.  If necessary, the unit owner may elect to remove their unit from the letting pool for a certain period.

Examples of rules which could be deemed ‘unfair’ or risk resulting in harsh consequences include those which:

– Only apply to young people or schoolies

– Prohibit all glass from being brought in (if you need to stop tenants from bringing specific types of glass in all year round, be very specific)

– Conduct bag searches without the consent of the owner

– Charge the occupant a false alarm call out fee if the fire service attends the room when the fire service has not raised an invoice to the premises

– Allow random inspections without the consent of tenants

– Are blanket statements that mean a breach of any rule (irrespective of how minor or trivial) will result in eviction

– Purportedly enable an apartment manager to evict all tenants staying in an apartment for the conduct of one tenant

– Impose greater restrictions during Schoolies on the numbers of guests and times within which guests are able to visit apartments than other times of the year

– Seek to make tenants liable for damage to common areas, irrespective of who caused the damage or in circumstances where the damage was a result of fair wear and tear

– Seek to impose a charge or fee on tenants if guests are in apartments after the stipulated ‘no guests’ period

– Prevent visitors from accessing public areas, such as a pool or garden, and/or

– State that where any person under the age of 18 is found to be under the influence of alcohol, they will be evicted and/or their parents and/or the police notified.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) undertakes checks to ensure resident letting agents are complying with their licensing requirements.

Hiring security guards:

If you are considering hiring or employing security guards and/or crowd controllers it is suggested that:

– The option is discussed and agreed to by the body corporate committee, especially the issue of how the cost of any extra security will be covered

– The security firm and individual officers are licensed appropriately. You can check a security providers licence on the Office of Fair Trading website.

– You have clearly established the role of the security officers and/or crowd controllers in both protecting the property and dealing with guests.

All security guards and/or crowd controllers should be briefed on the house rules, complaint handling and eviction procedures.

For more information visit the Office of Fair Trading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68). 

Whatever decision you have made for this years Schoolies, Allotz wishes you a safe and profitable Schoolies 2016.

Arrange for a demo of Allotz Autopilot today and let Allotz run your business on full Autopilot!