The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of legislation covering the short-term letting of homes across our State has ‘lost’ its Chairperson. MP Jai Rowell appears to have replaced Oatley MP Mark Coure on the Committee on Environment and Planning. Holder of a Law degree, perhaps the Hon Jai Rowell will possess some respect for judgements of the NSW Land and Environment Court, which acknowledge the “sever impacts” on neighbours and the “fundamental incompatibility” of mixing short-term letting with permanent residents.
In the lead up to the 19 April report back deadline, Airbnb has launched a tsunami of Media to convince Legislators and the general public that their appropriation to date of 41,000 NSW homes – with no limit in numbers in sight, given that Expedia and Agoda have entered the fray - is good for the neighbours and good for the State. MPs Thomas George and Kevin Humphries have seen Court Orders stop their “Illegal” short-term letting of homes. Deputy Premier John Barilaro and how many more still list with Airbnb and others?
Airbnb ‘super landlord’ Spencer Kirk is just one of the ‘friendly faces’ seeking sympathy for the Airbnb ‘miracle’: his life has been transformed from that of a ‘depressed humble office worker into a self-made small business owner’, he has found ‘self-confidence’ through an ‘exciting array of visitors’, and claims Airbnb has contributed to ‘community education, multicultural diversity, neighbourhood social capital, taxation office windfalls, untold benefits to other strata owners’ and, yes, even ‘bonuses to local businesses’. Spence fails to mention the notice posted in his building warning him and many others that their Airbnb activity is a breach of the development control plan on their Residential building and impacts severely on amenity, disability, fire and rescue and insurance issues.
Spencer Kirk and his Redfern strata cohort’s public assertions are funded of course by Airbnb, in the full knowledge of the City of Sydney Council’s correspondence. Unfortunately for Spencer’s neighbours and us, the thousands of landlords spurning Tenants in favour of Tourists/Visitors are operating in relative safety, as many a Legislator at Federal/State/Local level is also profiting directly from short-term letting and Councils across NSW are failing to legislate against breaches in Planning/Zoning Legislation.
Maestri Towers: 240 of 400 units short-term let.
Bridgeport Apartments: 65+ of 163 units short-term let.
Byron Bay 2,293 homes available through Airbnb/Expedia and 73 through Domain.com.au.
Sydney is ranked 4th in the world in terms of Airbnb listings.
Australia is Airbnb’s “most penetrated market”.
The NSW Parliament’s response to the ‘Coure Report’ is due within days.