This was the request received from NSW Fair Trading, reportedly on behalf of our Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation. The Minister and/or his Department appeared curious about suggestions of what they referred to as possible “collusion” between short-term rental platforms and real estate agents. Maybe Airbnb, Stayz and others’ penetration of our homes and communities and the impact on legitimate accommodation providers is starting to concern some? And unsurprisingly, the ABC is reporting a ‘surge’ in ‘Entire Homes’ and commercial listings of properties on rental platforms.
When asked, a propos residential housing, what measures the NSW Government was taking to prevent overcrowding and short-term occupancy, plus setting minimum residential tenancy lease agreements to three months, a former Minister for Fair Trading gave this assurance in the Parliament:
“Owners or occupiers must ensure that a (residential property) is not used for any purpose that is prohibited by law.” Limits on occupancy and usage of dwellings fall under the relevant planning laws. “Real estate agents are generally responsible for arranging leases and are licensed under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002. The Office for Fair Trading would examine any improper or questionable actions undertaken by a real estate agent, including actions that would be in breach of the consumer protection provisions of that Act or the strata or tenancy legislation. Penalties for breaching the legislation include a range of disciplinary actions from a reprimand to cancellation of a licence and disqualification from involvement in the real estate business.”
The NSW Premier, her Ministers and Shadow Ministers are now in receipt of many examples where Agents are diverting housing away from Residents for use as Holiday Rentals. Here is the latest example: A member of Staff at the Real Estate Agent pictured below on the right confirms today that they have one apartment available for tenants. The Agent on the left has 97 homes advertised as holiday rentals. Of the properties we checked, all these holiday rentals are cross-referenced with Stayz, owned by Seattle-based Expedia. Be assured, there are so very many examples of this practice, which have now been reported to our NSW Legislators.
We have invited the NSW Premier to join us in seeking voluntary Orders from the NSW Land and Environment Court (as per case number 14/40923). We are still awaiting Ms Berejiklian’s response.
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits
Neighbours not Strangers