NSW HOLIDAY LETTING ACCIDENT: Who'll Pay?
Media today: Eight Hurt in Yamba Wedding Party Balcony Collapse. A North Coast wedding celebration was thrown into disarray after eight members of the wedding party were injured when their holiday rental balcony collapsed during a pre-wedding party. Fortunately no one has been killed or left permanently incapacitated.
It’s unclear whether the property was booked through a local Real Estate Agent or Lastminute.com, Wotif.com, HomeAway.com, Stayz.com, Expedia.com, or Airbnb/Jetstar (‘world’s worst airline’)…the list is endless.
So who’s responsible: the local Council for tolerating such activity in an unlicensed property, the Internet platform that facilitated the booking, the owner/s of the property? And will there be an attempt to blame the clients for overloading the balcony or behaving in such a way that they compromised the structure? What will be the total cost for the Emergency Services Personnel, ambulances, a helicopter, hospital and any ongoing medical costs?
This incident brought into focus another article listed two weeks earlier: Yamba Residents Threaten Court Action Against Council. The Yamba Residents Action Group is threatening to take the Clarence Valley Council to court if Council proceeds with plans to allow short-term rental accommodation in low density residential areas. Geoffrey Beresford, speaking on behalf of the group, said they would be compelled to take action because of the problems arising from short-term rental accommodation in areas zoned R2 under the Clarence Valley Local Environment Plan. A recent report recommended the council amend its LEP to insert a definition for short-term rental accommodation and establish controls in the R2 zone on short-term rental accommodation, which Mr Beresford and residents claim would place the rights of investors and short-term holiday makers ahead of permanent residents: “Permanent residents purchased their properties on the basis their properties are within the R2 residential zone and therefore exempt from short-term rental accommodation.”
Has Michelle Chiang, the US-based Expedia/Stayz representative and Lucas Pender from Barton Deakin Government Relations been visiting North Coast as well as South Coast Councils, recommending changes to Local Environmental Plans to facilitate Expedia’s commercial expansion across the State?
And exactly who will pay, if the NSW Government deems short-term tourist/visitor letting ‘complying and exempt development’: who will ultimately compensate residents for loss of amenity and resulting severe social and financial impacts? And how will legislators react when lives are lost – as they most certainly will be – in unregulated properties?
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits
Neighbours not Strangers