AIRBNB: COUNCILS MUST ACT OR RESIDENTS TO SEEK COMPENSATION
Ned Cutcher of the Tenants’ Union of NSW told the ABC: “he believes a renter should be allowed to share their leased property on Airbnb…” Mr Cutcher hasn’t responded to our questions about his interpretation of the NSW Residential Tenancies Act, whether or not he or his colleagues derive income from or use short-term letting platforms, or whether he understands the multiple levels of legislation in NSW which govern tenants and landlords’ use in regards to unlicensed commercial short-term tourist/visitor rentals in our homes.
Trevor Atherton of the Holiday Industry Rental Association has given testimony under oath to the Victorian Parliament confirming short-term letting is “illegal” in NSW but has just told ABC Radio that short-term tourist/visit lets are “legal” in our State. Interestingly, he goes on to claim: “Under Planning Law, you can’t change the planning today and take away existing use rights. And under Property Law you can’t take away a property right without paying compensation.”
Clarence Valley Council has been put ‘on notice’ by the Yamba Residents Action Group. The message on retrospective rezoning is crystal clear: “Should any development application be granted by Council, our group would commence a Class Action seeking compensation for loss of property values, loss of amenity and the failure of council to enforce its own zoning regulations in allowing existing properties to be used as STRA, contrary to current R2 Zoning Regulations…Further, given the current economic climate, legitimate tourists accommodation owners of hotels, motels and caravan parks should not have to compete with unauthorised and unregulated STRA controlled by on-line booking platforms. These people have invested large sums of money to provide legitimate tourist accommodation and should be supported by council and not undermined by allowing STRA in Low Density Residential Zones.”
The NSW Parliamentary Hearing Committee was told: Airbnb would compensate to the value of $1 million – only. Geoffrey Beresford for the Yamba Residents wrote some days ago to Clarence Valley Councillors: “The Insurance Council states that owners who rent houses on a short term holiday basis are not covered by standard Landlord Insurance. Further, advice that I have obtained from the Insurance Council is that owners who rent houses for short term holiday accommodation contrary to any council zoning regulation would not be covered by Landlord Insurance and would most likely have any claim denied as the property does not comply with council zoning regulations. A further legal question arises: what is the council’s ‘duty of care’ to holiday makers who lease houses that are being unlawfully let contrary to councils zoning regulations? I believe council's risk of exposure to such claim for injury etc occasioned by a holiday tenant is very real, given that council is aware of the situation and has been for at least 2 years since our group first notified council of the situation.” And what of the financial exposure of neighbours, particularly in Strata where owners are exposed to unlimited liability?
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers