Birtinya couple Helen Rodgers and Clayton Fiander watched as the three-storey home was built last year directly opposite their Fortitude Place home.
Birtinya couple Helen Rodgers and Clayton Fiander watched as the three-storey home was built last year directly opposite their Fortitude Place home.

‘Knock it down’: Secret ‘hostel’ enrages neighbours

NEIGHBOURS' complaints of a home working secretly as a "hostel" have pushed the council to take legal action and demand the 17-bedroom house be all-but demolished.

Birtinya couple Helen Rodgers and Clayton Fiander watched as the three-storey home was built last year directly opposite their Fortitude Place home, saying since completion people had been in and out at all hours of the night in their quiet street.

Sunshine Coast Council has acted on their complaints, launching court action against owner Michael Gavin, demanding the building be drastically changed to meet requirements after he initially told builders he just had a "large family".

READ: 'I was naked when the council raided my home'

"There are between 12 and 15 people residing in the building," Mr Fiander said in his joint submission to the Planning and Environment Court.

"Having earlier seen Mr Gavin with members of his immediate family, I can say that the present occupants are not members of Mr Gavin's family."

The three-storey home on Fortitude Place sits on a prime waterfront spot. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
The three-storey home on Fortitude Place sits on a prime waterfront spot. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Plans were initially lodged for the house privately and detailed an array of different classifications for each room that tradesmen said weren't built to what the plans set-out.

Plumbing inspector Jesse Hunn said he was "immediately struck" by the extent of work on the house, including soundproofed walls and plumbing, 17 ensuites and commercial fit-outs.

"It looked like a room in a hostel," he said in his court submission.

The council's submission said more than 25 airconditioning units, 25 compressor units and 18 separate fuse sets were visible from the exterior of the home.

Council officers submitted that after going through the home on June 28 they found identical rooms on each floor, all with a shared kitchen, laundry and "identical" outdoor settings.

The rooms were listed on shared accommodation websites boasting one bedroom and one bathroom for $220 per week.

The ads appeared to have been removed from the internet on Saturday.

Another neighbour, Ivy Chan, said she saw new tenants frequently.

"Knock it down," she said.

"The street can't cope with many cars as it is, let alone another 17."

A serious parking issue prompted Ms Rodgers to make her formal complaint, but she is more worried their house value may depreciate being so close to the structure.

The couple built their $1 million home with their "life savings" in 2017 after carefully choosing the perfect block for them.

She said her waterfront view was blocked by a long line of cars among 32 vehicles the council approved for parking permits in the same street.

Cars line the narrow streets of Fortitude Place. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Cars line the narrow streets of Fortitude Place. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

"The excessive number of vehicles is a safety hazard," she said in her submission.

"The garbage truck has difficulty getting around the corner and I doubt a fire truck could get through."

Sunshine Coast Council applied to the court on August 15 to determine, as its evidence suggested, the building didn't comply with the regulations as a "dwelling house" and instead was an accommodation building or multi-dwelling.

It also asked the court to order Mr Gavin to evict all tenants within a week of making a decision and to rebuild the house to the correct standards within 30 days.

Mr Gavin declined to comment.



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