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AIRBNB PROFILING FEMALE HOSTS and QUESTIONABLE FIRE SAFETY ADVICE


To coincide with International Women’s Day, Airbnb Australia sent a Media Release that was picked up and published by Mumbrella. Australia and New Zealand Country Manager Susan Wheeldon, who joined Airbnb from Google back in late October, is reported as saying that “she is proud to see how women across the country are utilising the platform to fulfil their life goals”. Ms Wheeldon made no mention of the murder of 18-year old Laa Chol at a Melbourne Airbnb, or the 19-year-old raped on four occasions by her Airbnb host. Then Joanne Newman wrote last December that her daughter’s house – rented as an Airbnb – was robbed, and so too allegedly was Judy’s apartment in Sydney’s CBD. And Airbnb landlord Jessica Marquis wrote that she was sick to her stomach when she found one of her guests standing in another guest’s room recording him as he slept. Then there is Sinead Bushell in Sydney, who was in her room changing when her male Airbnb client: “…just walked in. Luckily my wardrobe door was open so the bedroom door couldn’t open fully. The whole walking into my room side of things has made me very uncomfortable.” Yes, Airbnb omitted all these plus many more such deeply disturbing crimes and occurrences from its Media Release on the profiling of female hosts.


On 14 August 2019 the NSW Department of Planning, Environment and Industry (DIPE) issued draft documents on Short-Term Rental Accommodation. Included were proposed ‘Fire Safety Standards’. Draft Application, Interpretation, Compliance with Standards, and specifications and requirements for Class of Dwellings were all clearly set out for a range of building types.


From 06 April 2020 it will be mandatory for Competent Fire Safety Practitioners to be accredited under the Fire Protection Association of Australia’s (FPA Australia) Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS). The Accreditation Scheme is the next phase of the NSW Government’s plan to increase building fire safety across our State. Mandatory accreditation for Competent Fire Safety Practitioners will guarantee that building owners engage highly experienced and skilled fire safety professions as their CFSPs. Mandatory Accreditation for Competent Fire Safety Practitioners can be found on the Fire Protection Association Australia’s website. Further details can also be found of the DPIE’s website. The reforms mandate that certain functions be undertaken by a competent fire safety practitioner only, including assessing the ongoing performance of essential fire safety measures in a building and endorsing the annual fire safety statement. Industry organisations must apply to NSW Fair Trading for approval to accredit competent fire safety practitioners. Importantly, still more details are available via NSW Fair Trading’s website here.


Allan Evans – CEO, Director & Founder The BNB Works and ASTRA* Board Member – Co-Owner/Operator of Brunswick Mews On Darby, “zoned Residential”, is an ‘Administrator’ of a closed Facebook page – Airbnb Hosts Australia. Mr Evans and several other ASTRA Board Members contribute to this page; ASTRA Director Joan Bird28 Airbnb listings – is a regular contributor. We were reminded today of Ms Bird's ‘advice’ (22/08/19) to landlords about how the Airbnb cohort might deal with NSW Fair Trading’s proposed ‘Fire Safety Standards’ and hard wired smoke detectors…plus save thousands of dollars (see photo). In an email sent to us on 06 March 2020, Ms Bird wrote: “Suggest…that you thoroughly check your facts.” (*ASTRA – Australian Short Term Rental Association.)


We can only say that we believe all owners of dwellings used as commercial short-term tourist/visitor rentals have a duty of care to every occupant plus the occupants of neighbouring homes and that, in matters of Fire Safety Standards, mandated requirements must be met. We’ve read multiple Coroners’ reports. Put simply:


Compliance with National Construction Codes, Fire Safety Regulations, Disability Access Legislation and Residential Zoning Ordinance is NON-NEGOTIABLE.


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