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Yesterday’s correspondence from Airbnb to its NSW landlords produced much of interest in the way of online ‘chatter’. As our strata buildings, residential streets and suburbs will soon be an uncontrolled ‘free-for-all’ for all types of activity, this remark from one-neck deep in ‘the business of Airbnb’ was telling:

“I hate it that I cannot see the person that is trying to book my place.”

Airbnb’s Terms and Conditions are clear (meaning totally unclear) - see particularly: “2.4 User verification on the Internet is difficult and we do not assume any responsibility for the confirmation of any Member’s identity. Notwithstanding the above, for transparency and fraud prevention purposes, and as permitted by applicable laws, we may, but have no obligation to (i) ask Members to provide a form of government identification or other information or undertake additional checks designed to help verify the identities or backgrounds of Members, (ii) screen Members against third party databases or other sources and request reports from service providers, and (iii) where we have sufficient information to identify a Member, obtain reports from public records of criminal convictions or sex offender registrations or an equivalent version of background or registered sex offender checks in your local jurisdiction (if available).”

Last month NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker wrote that most Airbnb-type rentals are “generally without significant impact…people are generally older people…The Greens are strong supporters on the new ‘sharing economy’”. Mr Parker does not support the NSW Land and Environment Court judgment that short-term rentals are “fundamentally incompatible” when mixed with permanent residents, instead promoting the stance: “Local government should be able to develop the planning controls that reflect issues in their area. Several Councils in coastal areas where holiday letting has a long history have developed Development Control Plans to control short term letting. This should be encouraged!”

We are mystified to know which NSW Local Government Areas have short-term rentals under control. Here for example is a quote from Detective Inspector Mat Kehoe of Byron Police:

"Presently I see tourism going in a direction that encourages home owners to rent out their homes or rooms for significant sums of money whilst failing to consider their neighbours and the broader community. I don’t see such a trend as sustainable as there will be increasing anti social issues within the Byron township and disharmony within the communities these tourists stay in. This leads to a negative view of tourism which is harmful to a future positive direction for tourism within our shire."

Tragically one doubts that a photograph would have been of much use to Victorian man Ramis Jonuzi, who was raped, beaten and murdered by his Airbnb ‘hosts’. A third Airbnb ‘host’ has now been sentenced for Mr Jonuzi’s killing. In 2013 the convicted killer Jason Colton “spent time in a Norwegian jail for assaulting a housemate as he slept”. Airbnb seemed little interested when listing Colton’s property on their platform. Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth described the killing of Ramis Jonuzi by Colton and his two ‘co-hosts’ as brutal.

If you haven’t yet experience home life next to an Airbnb, Stayz,, DestinationNSW rental, just wait…

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones

People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers

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