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This week we were able to provide the Real Estate & Property Division of NSW Fair Tradingand City of Sydney Council with details of an online webinar that boasted how one can “kick out tenants” and make a financial return of $15,000/month on Airbnb. And Expedia/Stayz will soon update their landlords on why governments are seeking to regulate short-term rentals, what the Expedia/Stayz regulatory model looks like, and how landlords can “get involved”.

While problems with short-term rentals on the NSW north coast are well known, other regional areas tend not to attract as much in the way of Media. That said, the Bega District News reported two days ago that it is almost impossible to find affordable rentals in the Bega Valley. And Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, released this week, has shown how dire Australia’s housing crisis has become. The Snapshot surveyed over 69,000 rental listings across Australia and found that there is a chronic shortage of affordable rentals across Australia.

Shoalhaven Shire Council is one of 11 NSW Local Government Areas that has changed its Local Environmental Plan to permit short-term rentals. No surprise then that it has now lost more homes to Airbnb than the Byron Shire. While permitting homes to be used without limit for commercial operations, Shoalhaven’s LEP does still stipulate that Federal Building Codes and Fire Prevention measures must be adhered to. Yet there is zero mechanism in place to establish which dwellings are being put to commercial use and therefore no attempt appears to be made to ensure that Federal Building Codes are met or fire prevention infrastructure is installed and functioning. In response to questions on these and other issues, Shoalhaven Council’s Strategic Planning Manager writes: “Council is comfortable with the position it has taken in regard to the short term rental of residential dwellings in our area.” Were Council to be the subject of a legal claim in the event of injury or death in a short-term rental, one wonders if ratepayers would feel as comfortable as do Council employees.

Residents in the Wollongong Shire are distressed at Council’s lack of intervention and action against an operation at 13 Pit Road Wombarra. Locals say the property has up to 200 campers at a time. Bookings are available through Airbnb and You Camp. Wollongong Council, why won’t you subpoena their booking records and fine them?

As one accredited accommodation provider, who has 400 illegal short-term rentals in her immediate vicinity, wrote today:

“My takings are down $350/week, which equates to $17,000/year. My land tax went up to $20,000/year. I blame Airbnb for EVERYTHING.”

It comes down to trust in Council Administrators to enforce Residential Zoning...because if they won't enforce legislation, housing is lost and neighbours’ lives are ruined. Council Staff should not be drawing salaries from the Residents they are failing to serve.

Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

Neighbours not Strangers

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