Holiday Rental Code of Conduct

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Holiday rental is a long established practice in Australia and serves a range of purposes. The short term rental of houses and apartments to holiday makers, workers and students makes an important contribution to the local as well as the broader State and national economy. Holiday rental is the term used to describe the rental of a dwelling for short periods, most commonly for weekends or a few weeks for holidays. Short term rental is also used by workers, students and the like who require residential accommodation for a limited period of time.

The use of a dwelling for the provision of holiday accommodation can be considered to be ancillary to the main use of the residential property. A dwelling includes a room or suite of rooms occupied or used as a separate domicile (including a house, villa, town house, apartment or granny flat) whether for permanent or holiday accommodation.

Holiday rental of a residential property is typically through a licence agreement rather than a tenancy agreement under the relevant state and territory residential tenancy legislation.

Holiday rental of dwellings can make a positive sustainable contribution to local tourism and communities, and should be managed so as to minimise any adverse social or environmental impacts. However in some areas, the increased use of dwellings for holiday rental accommodation has led to some impacts on amenity such as in relation to noise and car parking issues.

This Code of Conduct has been developed to provide a self-regulatory approach in the management of holiday rental. This approach has been used in some areas and has been found to be successful in managing amenity impacts associated with holiday rental. This Code of Conduct applies to dwelling properties that are rented for the purposes of holiday accommodation. This Code may be applied to short term rental for other purposes in due course.

This self regulatory approach to Holiday Rental incorporates four components:
  

Part 1  This part outlines obligations on Participating Organisations to cooperate and combine efforts to achieve the Objectives of the Code through appropriate administration and enforcement of the Code.
Part 2
This part outlines obligations on Managers of Holiday Rental Properties.
Part 3
This part outlines obligations on Owners and Guests required to implement The Code through the Terms and Conditions of the contract between the Owner and Guests.
Part 4
This part provides a framework for House Rules for Visitors and Guests at a Property to ensure that the amenity of neighbouring properties is not adversely affected.

 
Holiday Rental Code of Conduct

Objectives of this Code
The objectives of this Code of Conduct are:
  • To establish acceptable standards of behaviour for Holiday Rental Guests and Visitors to minimise any adverse social or environmental impacts;
  • To assist Owners and Managers of Holiday Rental accommodation to meet the needs of all stakeholders including Guests, neighbours, local communities, local councils and government authorities; and
  • To inform the community of the standards of conduct expected from Holiday Rental Owners, Managers, Guests and Visitors so as to effectively minimise amenity impacts. 

Government authorities and private sector bodies are encouraged to endorse this Code of Conduct and to work cooperatively with Participating Organisations to achieve its Objectives.

Definitions used in this Code
  • Holiday Rental means rental of Property for holiday purposes within the maximum term permitted for rental without a residential tenancy agreement under state and territory residential tenancy legislation.
  • Dwelling means a room or suite of rooms occupied or used or so constructed or adapted as to be capable of being occupied or used as a separate domicile.
  • Guest means a person who stays overnight in the Property during the term of the occupancy.
  • Manager means the Owner or another person appointed by the Owner (such as a real estate agent), who is responsible for renting the Property.
  • Noise means any sound which is offensive to occupiers of neighbouring properties.
  • Owner means the person or entity who owns the Property. It includes the lessee of a Property who sublets or licences it to others for Holiday Rental.
  • Participating Organisations comprise those organisations that endorse and agree to implement this Code of Conduct.
  • Property means Dwellings and residential premises including houses, dual occupancies, villas, townhouses, apartments, units, secondary dwellings, cabins and the like generally with a maximum of 6 bedrooms unless the relevant local council permits holiday rental in properties with more than 6 bedrooms.
  • Visitor means a person a Guest invites or permits to visit the Property during the term of the occupancy who does not stay overnight.




Part 1. Holiday Rental - Obligations of participating organisations
This Part outlines the arrangements and the role and responsibilities of Participating Organisations for the promotion, implementation, administration, monitoring and enforcement of this Code of Conduct.
 
1.1      Guiding Principles 
 
This Code of Conduct is for use by Participating Organisations to outline to Holiday Rental Managers, Owners Guests and Visitors what their responsibilities are in order to ensure that the amenity of the Property and neighbours is maintained.
 
a) This Code of Conduct applies to the Holiday Rental of Property owned or managed by members of Participating Organisations; 
b) Managers (including owners and agents) are encouraged to join Participating Organisations and may become Participating Organisations;
c) Participating Organisations consider that compliance with this Code of Conduct is required to achieve the Objectives and undertake to enforce this Code;
d) Participating Organisations signify their endorsement and agreement to this Code of Conduct by signing and lodging a copy of it with the Code Administration Committee;
e) Participating Organisations may withdraw their endorsement and agreement to this Code of Conduct at any time by lodging a written notice with the Code Administration Committee; and
f) Participating Organisations will implement and promote this Code of Conduct and make a copy of it available to the public from their website.

The Guiding Principles for Guests and Visitors in the Holiday Rental of a Property under this Code of Conduct are:
  • This is a home;
  • Treat it as your own;
  • Respect your neighbours;
  • Leave it as you find it. 
 
1.2 Implementation of the Code
This Code of Conduct will be implemented through the following mechanisms:
 
1.2.1 Through Participating Organisations:
a) Participating Organisations must require an undertaking from Managers to comply with the Code of Conduct as a condition of membership of their organisation or of listing their Property as the case may be; and
b) Where a Participating Organisation is a Manager they must require an undertaking from Owners as a condition of managing their Property to endorse and comply with relevant provisions in the Code and agree to this Code so far as the Manager’s own Property is concerned.
 
1.2.2 Through Owners and Managers:
a) The Terms and Conditions upon which the Property is offered, booked and occupied for Holiday Rental must meet the standards in Part 3 of this Code and be incorporated into the contract between the Owner of the Property and Guests;
b) House Rules including the fundamental obligations of Guests and Visitors on Noise and Residential Amenity under the Terms and Conditions must meet the standards in Part 4 and be displayed at all times in a prominent position in the Property to remind Guests of their key contractual obligations and to inform all Guests and Visitors of the conditions upon which they are permitted to enter and remain on the Property; and 
c) A full printed copy of this Code of Conduct, the Terms and Conditions, the House Rules and any By Laws relating to the strata or community title must be provided in a Guest & Visitor Information Folder within the Property in a location which is prominent and easily accessible to Guests, Visitors and persons authorised by the Manager or law to inspect and enforce compliance.

1.3 Sanctions

 

1.3.1  Through Participating Organisations 
 
Each Participating Organisation is responsible for dealing with instances where Managers are not complying with this Code of Conduct.
 
a) Participating Organisations may impose sanctions upon Managers for non compliance with this Code of Conduct;
b) Such sanctions will be imposed under the terms of their membership or listing arrangements with Managers;
c) If so directed by the Code Administration Committee, a Participating Organisation must impose the sanctions; 
d) A Manager who disputes a sanction imposed upon it by a Participating Organisation under this Code may appeal to the Code Administration Committee and in that case the Code Administration Committee will review the sanction and direct the Participating Organisation on what it considers to be the appropriate sanction in all the circumstances; and
e) The sanctions should reflect the nature, seriousness and frequency of the breach and include in increasing severity:
  i. Issuing a censure or warning to the Manager; 
  ii. Requesting the Manager to rectify the harm done or compensate for the damage caused by the breach; 
  iii. Requesting the Manager to take remedial action to ensure the breach does not reoccur. Remedial action may include more restrictive practices, for example limiting the number of Guests permitted to stay at a Property to a lesser number or restricting the number of Visitors and the hours when Visitors can be on the Property ; and
  iv. Expulsion from membership or delisting of the Property as the case may be. 

 

1.3.2  Through the Code of Administrative Committee
 
The Code Administration Committee is responsible for dealing with instances where Participating Organisations are not complying with this Code of Conduct.
 
a) The Code Administration Committee may impose sanctions upon Participating Organisations for non-compliance with the obligations of a Participating Organisation under this Code of Conduct.
b) If a Participating Organisation disputes a sanction imposed upon it by the Code Administration Committee under this Code the dispute shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with, and subject to, The Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia Rules for the Conduct of Commercial Arbitrations. Unless the Code Administration Committee and the Participating Organisation agree upon an arbitrator, either of them may request a nomination from either the President OR the Chapter Chairman of the Chapter where the dispute arises.
c) The sanctions should reflect the nature, seriousness and frequency of the breach and include in increasing severity: 
  i. Issuing a censure or warning to the Participating Organisation;
  ii. Requesting the Participating Organisation to rectify the harm done or compensate for the damage caused by the breach; 
  iii. Requesting the Participating Organisation to take remedial action to ensure the breach does not reoccur; and
  iv. Cancelling the registration of the Participating Organisation under this Code of Conduct.


1.4 Code Administration

 

1.4.1  Code Administration Committee
 
This Code of Conduct will be administered by the Code Administration Committee (“CAC”).
 
a) The CAC will consist of representatives of Participating Organisations or key stakeholders in the Holiday Rental industry.
b) The initial CAC will comprise a representative from each of the following:
  i. Stayz or its nominee;
  ii. HLO Byron;  
  iii. REINSW;
  iv. A consumer group or tourism body; and 
  v. A government or statutory planning body.
c) Members of the CAC may be appointed and dismissed by decision of the CAC.
d) The CAC may invite other relevant authorities to act as observers or advisors when appropriate, for example the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and State and Territory Government agencies such as Tourism, Planning and Infrastructure and Fair Trading Departments, law enforcement and the Local Government and Shires Associations. 
e) The chairman and secretary of the CAC will be appointed by decision of the CAC.
f)
The CAC will be industry-funded.
g) Unless otherwise agreed meetings of the CAC will be held in Sydney, NSW and members from other cities or states may participate by telephone or video conferencing.
h) Meetings of the CAC require a quorum of a majority of members present or participating by telephone or video conferencing.
I) Decisions of the CAC will be made according to the following:
  i. CAC decisions to amend this Code of Conduct or changes to the membership of the CAC require a majority of at least 66%;
  ii. All other CAC decisions require a simple majority; and 
  iii. In the event of a deadlock the Chairman shall have an additional casting vote.
 
1.4.2 The role of the CAC
 
The role of the CAC will be to:
 
a) Publicise and promote this Code of Conduct;
b) Maintain a register of Participating Organisations, receive and process signed copies of this Code of Conduct and any notice or decision that any signatory ceases to be a Participating Organisation; 
c) Monitor and review the operation of this Code of Conduct;
d) Give instructions to Participating Organisations and hear and determine appeals from Managers concerning sanctions under Clause 1.3.1 of this Code of Conduct;
e) Impose sanctions upon Participating Organisations under clause 1.3.2 of this Code of Conduct;
f) Consult with Participating Organisations and key stakeholders from the Holiday Rental industry (where appropriate) on proposed amendments to this Code of Conduct; 
g) Determine necessary amendments to this Code of Conduct;  
h) Provide for the adequate financing of Code of Conduct administration expenses;
i) Produce an annual report on this Code of Conduct and its administration;
j) Report on the operation and effectiveness of this Code of Conduct as required to such state and territory government Tourism, Fair Trading and Planning and Infrastructure authorities as have endorsed this Code of Conduct;
k) Report to the Participating Organisations and key stakeholders from the Holiday Rental industry on the operation and effectiveness of this Code of Conduct; and
l)
Organise an independent review of this Code of Conduct once every three years.


1.5 Monitoring Outcomes of the Use of this Code
The CAC will monitor the implementation of this Code.

1.5.1  Monitoring criteria
 
The criteria which will be used to monitor and measure the effectiveness of this Code of Conduct include:
 
a) Number of Participating Organisations;
b) Number of Owners and Managers of a Property represented by Participating Organisations;
c) Number of endorsing government authorities and private sector bodies;
d) Number of relevant complaints (bearing in mind that implementation of this Code of Conduct will provide and promote mechanisms for lodging complaints) received by:
  i. Participating Organisations;
  ii. Fair Trading authorities that have endorsed this Code of Conduct (so far as data is readily available);
  iii. Local councils (so far as data is readily available); and

iv. State government planning authorities (so far as data is readily available.)
e) Success rate in resolving disputes and complaints without recourse to litigation (so far as data is readily available); and 
f) Instances of acceptance of this Code of Conduct as a practical self regulatory alternative to government regulation.
 
1.5.2 Outcomes from the monitoring:
a) This Code of Conduct is designed to be a living document that will evolve based on monitoring outcomes and stakeholder feedback.
b) The CAC will be responsible for making necessary changes to better achieve the objectives of this Code of Conduct. 


1.6 Compliance with Australian Competition & Consumer Act
This Code of Conduct is intended to comply with the Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the ‘Act’) and any term or requirement of the Code including Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 which conflicts with the Act shall be read and be enforceable as if it complies with the Act.
 

 
Part 2. Holiday Rental - Obligations and Implementation guide for managers
This Part outlines the role and responsibilities of Managers, including standards, practices and procedures for implementation of this Code of Conduct. 

2.1 Role and Responsibilities of Managers
a) Managers are required to comply with this Code of Conduct as a condition of membership of a Participating Organisation or of listing their Property with a Participating Organisation as the case may be.
b) Managers must also comply with any request made by a Participating Organisation under the Sanction provisions of this Code of Conduct.
c) Managers must use their best endeavours to ensure that Property under their management used for Holiday Rental complies with this Code of Conduct generally including in particular the standards, practices and procedures under this Part.
d) Managers must outline to Guests (and Visitors) the consequences of not complying with any Terms and Conditions.
e) Managers are to provide information to neighbouring properties on the relevant authority to contact in the event of a contravention of the Terms and Conditions. This can include the provision of a telephone number to contact in this event.

2.2 Property Management generally

2.2.1 Managers should:
a) Act with integrity, professionalism, courtesy and consideration when dealing with Guests, neighbours, Owners corporations and other community stakeholders; and
b) Cooperate with other stakeholders including industry associations, tourism bodies, local councils and other government authorities to enhance the image, standards and contribution of Holiday Rental to the economy.
 
2.2.2 The Property must not be offered, described, or advertised:
a) In a false or misleading manner; 
b) For a purpose inconsistent with this Code of Conduct; or
c) For more than the maximum number of Guests or Visitors determined in accordance with this Code of Conduct or in any relevant environmental planning instrument.
 
2.2.3 The Property offered must:
a) Be offered in a clean, safe and habitable state of repair; and
b) Comply with relevant planning, building and fire safety and health regulations.
 
2.2.4 Managers should:
a) Provide general, after hours and emergency telephone numbers to Guests and neighbours; and
b) Have a local representative to manage Guests and Property issues.


2.3 Insurance
Owners and Managers should hold appropriate insurance, including comprehensive landlords’ and public liability insurance (as appropriate.)

2.4 Complaints handling

 

2.4.1 Managers must:
a) Have a policy, setting out how to deal with disputes or complaints;
b) Retain a log of related communication and actions taken;
c)  Respond to complaints professionally and take effective action to stop any problems; and
d)  Cooperate and participate in any complaint handling, response or resolution system implemented by their relevant Participating Organisation or local council.


2.4.2 Managers must also make and maintain a record of the following particulars of each complaint:
a) Date and time received;
b) Name and designation (e.g. Guest, neighbour, council, police etc) of complainant(c) contact details of complainant;
c) Nature of complaint; 
d) Action taken (by whom and when); and
e) Outcome and/or further action required (e.g. community consultation, meet with council, meet with local police, review management systems or issue resolved.)
 

2.4.3 Participating Organisations and Managers should encourage and facilitate complaint handling and dispute resolution through the following stages:
a) Initially by the Manager; 
b) If not resolved in (a) then through the relevant Participating Organisation; and 
c)  If not resolved in (b) then through the relevant state or territory Fair Trading or other authority. 


2.5    Consequences of not meeting this Code of Conduct
Where required to ensure compliance, Managers must make Owners, Guests and Visitors aware that: 

a) Depending on the Terms and Conditions of the contract between the Guest and Owner, the consequences of not meeting the requirements of this Code of Conduct can include enforcement action from: 

i) the Owner and its agents including Manager and security services;
  ii) local councils or; and
  iii) in some instances, the Police. 
b) Enforcement action is subject to the Australian Consumer Law and other relevant legislation.
c) Such enforcement action could result in termination of permission to occupy the Property, eviction, loss of rental paid, deductions from security deposits and extra charges. 
d) It is therefore important for all Guests to be aware of their obligations and of their responsibilities to make any Visitors to the Property aware of these requirements to maintain the amenity of the Property and its neighbourhood.  


2.6 Standards of Terms and Conditions (Part 3) and House Rules (Part 4)

2.6.1 Approach: prescribed standards not solutions
a) It is acknowledged that Holiday Rental Properties, Managers. Guests, Visitors, neighbourhoods, systems and other circumstances for holiday rental around Australia are diverse and a prescriptive “one-size-fits-all” approach is unlikely to achieve the Objectives;
b) It is also acknowledged that the industry is dynamic and that alternative, innovative and technological solutions which achieve the Objectives should be encouraged and not stifled by undue prescription;
c) Accordingly, in the performance standards set out in Parts 3 and 4, the focus is on the required outcome to be achieved rather than on prescription of rigid “one-size-fits-all” solutions.


2.6.2 Deemed to satisfy solutions
a) To provide guidance and assistance to the industry, the Code does provide in Attachments A and B so far as is practical “deemed to satisfy” solutions to compliance with the performance standards in Part 3 and Part 4 respectively;
b) The benefit if adopting a “deemed to satisfy” solution to a performance standard is that, in the event of a complaint about a Property to a Participating Organisation or the CAC which relates to a performance standard, there is no onus on the Owner to prove that the relevant Terms and Conditions or House Rules used for the Property meet the relevant performance standard.


2.6.3 Equivalent solutions
a) Managers are free to adapt or adopt different provisions in their Terms and Conditions and House Rules from those set out in Attachments A and B respectively which better suit their own circumstances, provided they are “equivalent solutions”.
b) Equivalent solutions are Terms and Conditions and House Rules for a Property that are designed to achieve the required performance standards by provisions which are different from the deemed solutions. 
c) In the event of a complaint about a Property to a Participating Organisation or the CAC which relates to a performance standard where the relevant deemed solution has not been used, the onus is on the Manager to prove that the performance of the provisions used is at least equivalent to that of the deemed to satisfy solution. 


2.6.4 Equivalent solutions
Failure to adopt a deemed solution or equivalent solution to each of the performance standards in Part 3 and Part 4 is a breach of this Code of Conduct.

2.7 Terms, Conditions and House Rules


2.7.1 Managers must ensure that: 
a) The Terms and Conditions upon which the Property is offered, booked and occupied for Holiday Rental must meet the standards specified in Part 3.
b) These Terms and Conditions must be incorporated into the contract between the Owner and the Guest.  


2.7.2  Managers must: 
a) Provide and have displayed prominently in the Property, the House Rules; 
b) Provide a Guest & Visitor Information Folder containing other information including a copy of this Code of Conduct and information promoting good neighbourly behaviour;
c) The House Rules upon which Guests and Visitors are permitted to enter and remain upon the Property must meet the standards specified in Part 4; and
d) The Terms and Conditions and House Rules must not offend the unfair contract terms and other provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

2.8 Deemed to Satisfy Provisions


Part 3)
a) Set out the original Terms and Conditions as a “deemed to satisfy” solution

Part 4)
a) Set out the original House Rules as a “deemed to satisfy” solution 




PART 3.    HOLIDAY RENTAL - TERMS AND CONDITIONS BETWEEN OWNERS AND GUESTS

The Terms and Conditions upon which a Property is offered, booked and occupied for Holiday Rental under the contract between the Owner and Guest consistent with the requirements of the Holiday Rental Code of Conduct.

These are the Performance Standards for the Terms and Conditions of the Contract between the Owner and the Guest.

3.1 Formalities
The Terms and Conditions:
a) Must be in writing; 
b) May be in electronic, printed or other legally compliant form; 
c) Must include the information and cover the matters in Part 3 of this Code of Conduct;
d) May incorporate information by reference including Booking Conditions, Occupancy Agreement, House Rules, By Laws and information made available to the Guest from web sites; and
e) May cover such other matters generally required in relation to Holiday Rental of the Property and any special conditions provided they are not inconsistent with this Code of Conduct including in particular this Part 3.


3.2 General Content
a) The Terms and Conditions must include:  
  i the address and description sufficient to identify the particular Property;
  ii Guest’s name, usual residential address, email and phone number(s);  
  iii dates of occupancy and check-in/check-out times;
  iv total rental payable and any other charges; 
  amount and timing for payment of deposit and balance of moneys due;
  vi provisions on variation, cancellation and forfeiture or refund of moneys paid; and 
  vii  contact details for the Manager or their nominated representative. 
b) The Terms and Conditions must not offend the unfair contract terms and other provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

    
3.3 Licence not a tenancy
The Terms and Conditions must include: 
a) Guests are granted a limited permission to occupy the Property for holiday purposes; 
b) This is not a residential tenancy agreement under the residential tenancy legislation; and
c) Failure to comply with the Guest's obligations in the Terms and Conditions may result in termination of permission to occupy the Property and eviction. 


3.4 Security Deposits or Bonds
Make effective and fair use of security deposits or bonds to procure compliance. 


3.5 Maximum number of Guests and Visitors 
a) The maximum number of Guests permitted at a Property must not exceed a maximum of 2 adults per bedroom; and
b) The number of Visitors permitted at a Property must not be such as may conflict with residential amenity, House Rules and more generally the Holiday Rental Code of Conduct.


3.6  Noise and Residential Amenity
Prohibit offensive noise and antisocial behaviour and enable the Manager to exercise all legal rights and remedies to promptly deal with any breach. 


3.7 Functions and parties
a) Properties located in residential areas must not host commercial catering or functions unless they have local council permission to do so. 
b) So called "party houses" conflict with residential amenity, are damaging to the Holiday Rental industry and are not permitted. 
c) Any gathering, celebration or entertainment permitted at a Property must not conflict with residential amenity and must comply with all the other requirements of this Code of Conduct including the Terms and Conditions (Part 3) and House Rules (Part 4) and any other relevant planning approvals.


3.8 Access and Parking 
Managers must provide information to Guests prior to arrival regarding access or parking restrictions to ensure ease of access with minimum disturbance to other residents or neighbouring properties.

 
3.9 Recycling and Garbage
Managers must:
a) Inform Guests of the garbage disposal or recycling usual practices at the Property including:
  i) the allocated bins and how excess rubbish should be managed and not left in public or common areas;
  ii)  details of local council garbage and recycling collection days; and
  iii)  any special requirements relating to the disposal of garbage or waste minimisation.
b) Make arrangements for the removal of any excess garbage left by Guests and Visitors.


3.10 Complaints and dispute resolution procedure
Provide adequate information on complaints handling and dispute resolution.

3.11 Consequences of not meeting the Terms and Conditions
Clearly set out the consequences of not meeting terms and Conditions and enable the Manager to exercise all legal rights and remedies to promptly deal with any breach. [Rationale: Heading should accurately reflect the content of the Part and how it works at law]  




PART 4.    HOLIDAY RENTAL - HOUSE RULES FOR GUESTS AND VISITORS

Holiday rentals provide a unique tourism experience: consider this your home, treat it as your own, respect your neighbours and leave it as you find it. These House Rules are provided at the Property to ensure that Guests and Visitors know and comply with the specific Rules governing their permission to enter and occupy the Property.


4.1 General requirements
House Rules are binding on Guests and Visitors and any issues must be promptly reported to the Manager.


4.2 Noise and Residential Amenity 
Offensive noise and anti-social behaviour is prohibited. 


4.3 Visitors
Guests are responsible for Visitors.  


4.4 Gatherings or functions
Parties and non compliant functions or gatherings are prohibited. 


4.5 Parking 
Parking regulations and requirements are specified clearly.


4.6 Garbage and recycling
Garbage storage and disposal requirements are specified clearly.


4.7  Security
Security arrangements are specified clearly.  


4.8  Swimming pool/spa (if applicable) 
Hours of use and safety measures are specified.


4.9 Deck and balcony areas
Appropriate rules are specified 


4.10  Smoking 
Restrictions are specified to the property.


4.11  Pets 
Restrictions are specified to the property.


4.12  BBQ
Arrangements are specified.

 
4.13 Damages and breakages 
Damages and breakages must be reported to the Manager.


4.14 On departure arrangements 
Arrangements for keys, security, dishwashing, rubbish, etc are specified.


4.15 Emergency Contact 
Emergency contact name and telephone numbers are provided.

 
4.16 Compliance
Consequences of non-compliance are specified including termination and eviction.


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