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AIRBNB - "Wonder what the response will be here if the government declares open season?”

Along with the ABC, The Australian, and the Financial Review, yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald reports that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was forced to delay long-awaited ‘reforms’ to Airbnb after nervous backbenchers refused to back laws capping the number of days homes could be rented.

“In an embarrassing development, the government had to cancel its planned announcement on Tuesday after a joint Coalition party room meeting could not agree on the proposed changes, which had been passed by cabinet last week…. A joint cabinet submission from the Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean and the Planning Minister Anthony Roberts recommended imposing a cap of 180 days on properties used for Airbnb-style letting in Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle, but no caps in regional areas…

One MP said colleagues had told him they had rarely seen a minister “so humiliated” after a series of concerns from MPs at a Coalition party room meeting this morning forced the Premier to send a proposal to regulate Airbnb back to a backbench committee.”

Meanwhile, on the NSW North Coast, The Echo is reporting that Byron Council has 180 holiday-lets in its sights, and that Estate agents and platforms may be liable. Short-term rentals are “ripping our community apart”, in Byron and elsewhere, with Byron Councillor Michael Lyon stating: “There has been concern that the lobbying and political donations from the billion dollar platforms might lead to poor decisions…” With thousands of short-term rentals in Byron, please don’t stop at 180.

We ask the NSW Premier again, with so many of her Parliamentary colleagues profiting directly from, and given the examples of State MPs being referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by Legal Counsel for the Department of Premier and Cabinet for non-disclosure of short-term rental properties (and/or income), how can the Residents of NSW have faith in her Government’s handling of this critical issue?

Meanwhile, the case of a Melbourne Airbnb client allegedly murdered by his three Airbnb ‘hosts’ is now before the Melbourne Magistrates Court. The Age and the ABC both carry news of this trial. If we’re not mistaken, reports at the time said the victim was raped by the accused prior to his death.

Persistent claims by Airbnb that they pump billions of dollars into the economy and support thousands of jobs have again been shot down in a recently released report by New York City’s Financial Comptroller. This data reflects that of an earlier report by San Francisco’s Financial Controllers.

Any NSW State Parliamentarian who considers that a ‘cap’ on the number of nights a residential property could operate each year as a short-term rental should now try hard to convince his/her neighbours to rent their homes to tourists via Airbnb’s platform. Assured, our MPs will very soon be asking what on earth happened to their rights as Residential Home Owners/Tenants.


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