Residents of a prestigious apartment complex at New Acton have been troubled by the ''loutish behaviour'' of partying short-term tenants who have been riding its large peacock sculpture like a horse, swearing loudly and vomiting onto the terraces of residences below.
Owner-occupiers of The ApARTments say they bought into the complex to ''live in an expensive residential building, not a hotel'' and have raised concerns about investment units being rented out for a weekend or week to short-term tenants whose primary goal appears to be loud partying.
The $170 million, 18-storey apartment complex opened more than two years ago as an upmarket complex with an arty bent. While owner-occupiers have moved in, other furnished apartments are being rented out for weekends or on a weekly basis for as much as $340 a night.
Roger Smith, chairman of the Owners Corporation, New Acton South, said the incidents weren't common and The ApARTments were ''still a really lovely place to live in a great precinct''. But residents had routinely complained about the impact of short-term tenants and their ''looney behaviour''.
The owners corporation had since fined one owner, asked investors to accept only long-term rentals or improve screening of their tenants and also appealed to the ACT government to see whether any restrictions could be applied on rentals of less than a month.
A recent incident had seen the huge leather peacock in the lobby, a work called The Watcher by Melbourne sculptor Heather B. Swann, scuffed and damaged by short-term renters climbing on its back.
''They pulled the chairs over to the peacock and climbed on the back of the chairs and up onto the top of the peacock and took photographs of themselves riding the peacock,'' Mr Smith aid. ''One of our residents saw it and asked them not to do it and they laughed and said, 'We've paid to be here, so run away'.''
The same people had also been using foul language and vomiting on to the terraces of the apartments below. They had been identified via the CCTV security system as being short-term renters. ''We'd passed it on to the agents who dealt with it but we've not had any further feedback from them,'' Mr Smith said.
The owners corporation had also issued a warning and then later fined one owner $220 under the Unit Titles Management Act when short-term renters had been playing loud music and banging doors until the early morning, in contravention of the complex's rules.
''The particular owner was horrified when they heard about it and actually withdrew the apartment from that particular leasing arrangement and changed to a longer term. That's the only one that's actually done it but we do appreciate it when it happens,'' Mr Smith said.
Warning or fining owners appeared to be the corporation's only avenue to stem the bad behaviour of their tenants.
''We have made inquiries to the ACT government as to whether there's anything we can do to restrict the way people can lease their apartments and they say, 'No, they're entitled to lease it however they wish, whether it be for one night or two years','' he said.
''People come here for those short periods and some of the apartments that are leased in that way are quite large - which means parties - and that doesn't take much account of people who live next door or above or below.''