AIRBNB – WHO’S MOCKING WHO?
It is indeed truly difficult to keep up with Airbnb’s flow of mendacious ‘guarantees’, and the NSW State MPs who are backing this US-outfit, along with Expedia’s Stayz, all the way to the bank. Airbnb assured legislators worldwide that it would ban ‘party houses’ in an attempt to halt the accumulation of fatal and near fatal incidents at its properties. Nothing of the sort has transpired with further shootings and violent incidents occurring in once quiet, stable residential buildings and suburbs.
Tweed Head Nationals MP Geoff Provest sat on the Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of legislation of short-term holiday letting (STHL) in NSW and is on the record as stating on multiple, multiple occasions that Airbnb and other STHL operators are “here to stay”. Provest ‘hosted’ a visit by Airbnb Staff and landlords at Parliament House during the Inquiry and soon after was invited to scale the sails of our Opera House for a photo-op, after Airbnb entered into a partnership with the Sydney Opera House Trust. The Hon Geoffrey Provest is indeed aware of his Leader, John Barilaro’s long and very lucrative association with Airbnb, Stayz & Co…and the activities of many of his fellow National Party MPs who, after referral by Legal Counsel from the Department of Premier and Cabinet to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), saw their illegal short-term rentals listed on NSW Land and Environment Court Orders together with a Penal Notice. Provest follows us on Social Media so receives daily updates on all things Airbnb.
In June 2019, local news publications reported that Tweed Shire Council was cracking down on illegal Airbnb operators. The attached Council template clearly highlights: “It is now directed that should any short term holiday letting accommodation be operating, it is to cease immediately and any further bookings should be cancelled.”
Tweed Shire Council identified for us properties among 370 homes listed by local agents that breach residential zoning and operate as Airbnb rentals. NSW Department of Fair Trading was sent the relevant information plus supporting zoning documentation and asked to, in line with assurances given by the former Minister on the floor of Parliament, take the promised disciplinary action against the Real Estate Agents involved. There has been no acknowledgement from NSW Fair Trading of this correspondence.
Milsons Point Airbnb landlord Peter writes that his Council – North Sydney - demanded he take his property off Airbnb immediately, due to it being in a residential zone; “Council states that under regulations they do not allow tourist and visitor accommodation and if the property is not taken off Airbnb, Council will look to pursue regulatory action.” The property has disappeared from Airbnb’s platform. Airbnb ‘Complete Host’ Dan Baker – 75 Airbnb listings - advised Peter: “It’s a threat and it’s not enforceable. There is currently no legislation that prevents a state government or local council preventing a STR. By definition, you are issuing a lease to a tenant for the purpose of residential accommodation. There is currently no definition of a lease that uses the length of the lease in the definition. It is an idle and unenforceable threat.” Mr Baker fails to acknowledge NSW Residential Tenancy Legislation covering residential tenancies, which clearly sets out premises to which the Act does not apply, together with agreements to which the Act does not apply. Airbnb landlords are conveniently misinforming each other, while Airbnb, Stayz, NSW Fair Trading and Department of Planning staff are well aware of the multiple levels of legislation and case law being held in contempt.
Another Saturday night and another wild Airbnb party wreaks havoc in a quiet neighbourhood in Melbourne’s east. It is reported that more than 100 people were present, causing extensive damage. Police confirm they attended at about 4.25am and pepper spray was deployed on party-goers after they attempted to stop police from entering the property. Interestingly, few reports of such activity in NSW reach us. One wonders if this has anything to do with all New Corp outlets blocking our correspondence and updates…