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Airbnb, We'd Be So Much Better Off Without You

Airbnb wants NSW Legislators to change the law because Airbnb is breaking the law.

At a meeting this week, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy, Brent Thomas, declined to answer each of the questions put to him by Neighbours Not Strangers. Pleasant exchanges but nil transparency. What was promised and has now been provided is a link to a Deloitte Access Economics Report, commissioned and paid for by Airbnb.

The Report does not attempt to acknowledge that, were Airbnb to cease its penetration into our homes, the $1.6 Billion to our economy which Airbnb claims is spent by its Tourists/Travellers would still be spent. Tourists would still come and Australians would travel. Instead, money would be channelled through licensed accommodation providers, generating tax revenue, plus guaranteeing jobs for many under workplace enterprise agreements.

Predictably, the Report fails to acknowledge the loss of tax revenue often associated with those using short-term letting platforms to rent housing. Nor does Airbnb/Deloitte mention the costs associated with the increase in criminal activity short-term letting brings, according to an Australian Institute of Criminality Report.

Airbnb will not acknowledge the harm associated with its “Illegal Use” of Residential Housing: data from San Francisco deems the impacts as “severe”.

Critically, the Report makes no reference to the cost to individuals, families and communities in terms of the distress caused in homes and buildings and neighbourhoods where Airbnb is active. Plus there is no attempt to offset the costs associated with tenant evictions, displacement of essential workers, rising rents and the large-scale loss of Residential Housing caused by Airbnb’s operations.

Back to San Francisco’s modelling: “Removing a single property from the market would have a total economic impact on the economy of approximately –USD250,000 to –US$300,000 per year. This exceeds the annual total economic benefit from visitor spending and landlord income (and hotel taxes), given prevailing (*) short-term rental rates.” (* 2015.)

115,000 Airbnb listings @ say a loss of US$275,000 per year…


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