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REGIONAL NSW TO OPEN FOR BUSINESS. COVID-19 – AIRBNB RENTALS – HOW CLEAN IS ‘CLEAN’?


Back in April, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson MP wrote that the NSW Government is committed to establishing a short-term rental accommodation regulatory framework that balances “the rights of homeowners to reasonably use their properties as they wish” (COR-010652020).  The Minister was asked to identify exactly which legal “rights” permit owner/occupiers and tenants to use NSW residential dwellings for commercial short-term tourist/visitor accommodation.  With no response forthcoming, the Hon Kevin Anderson has again been contacted today and asked to provide the legal basis upon which NSW will set aside Planning instruments and other legislation in order to facilitate a government orchestrated “win-win” for Airbnb, Stayz and ASTRA (Australian Short Term Rental Association) so as to commercialise housing.


Minister Anderson also wrote of the escalating situation with COVID-19 in recent months and the developing situation that comes on top of the impacts that bushfires have had on the accommodation sector:  “As a result of these impacts, and the impacts to Government resources, a decision has been made to commence the (short-term rental) Code of Conduct alongside the register and the planning instruments in the second half of this year”, all of which will further undermine the accommodation sector the Minister claims he supports.  Clearly the Hon Kevin Anderson does not comprehend the direct and severe impacts Airbnb/Stayz/ASTRA have on accredited accommodation providers, residential housing and communities.


In light of the ongoing situation with COVID-19, ASTRA has today gone to social media asking “what, if any protocols” short-term rental landlords are putting in place to ensure their and their guests’ safety.  ASTRA Board Member Joan Bird asks one Airbnb landlord if she could provide ‘checklists etc’. Bird writes that ‘government’ has requested a response from ASTRA.  It seems ASTRA members are not aware of, nor would it seem they are complying with, Federal accommodation and food services industry protocols or Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Australian Consumer Law, nor does ASTRA, Airbnb or Stayz guarantee that any of their platform users abide by Federal, State or Local Government Legislation.  The Australian Government Department of Health’s website provides clear and concise advice on Coronavirus (COVID-29) advice for travellers and travel within Australia


If the NSW Government is looking to outfits such as ASTRA/Airbnb/Stayz to guarantee staff and clients’ safety, it is well past time Ministers and Legislators stopped relying on those who refuse to adhere to well-defined legislation and instead read Airbnb’s terms and conditions for platform users in Australia; compliance and guarantees of standards are non-existent:


“1.3 …Airbnb has no control over and does not guarantee (i) the existence, quality, safety, suitability, or legality of any Listing or Host Services, (ii) the truth or accuracy of any Listing descriptions, Ratings, Reviews, or other Member Content (as defined below), or (iii) the performance or conduct of any Member or third party.”  Nor does Airbnb guarantee any “Member's identity or background or whether the Member is trustworthy, safe or suitable”.


Seven News has just announced that Airbnb operator/Deputy Premier John Barilaro has been working on the resumption of travel to regional NSW, as of 01 June.  Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to officially announce the date tomorrow; it is reported John Barilaro will join the Premier for the announcement.


Ministers Kevin Anderson and Rob Stokes:  Airbnb/Stayz/ASTRA operators refuse to abide by clear Planning legislation. Why would anyone expect them to adhere to bio security protocols?


If there is one good thing COVID-19 is doing, it’s providing tenants with the trigger to ask Airbnb landlords to rent homes and apartments per week for the price they regularly charge per night. One NSW North Coast Airbnb landlord, Leonie, writes that it is standard for tenants to request a drop of 50% for a long term rental and that such reductions are often being given.


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