EXPEDIA/STAYZ - GOVERNMENT PROPOSED ‘NIGHT CAPS’ ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS

“It’s not too hard to rejig things in such a way to be (sic) actually be able to report that information so that it can be policed too a bit. Now if somebody wanted to try and get around it, well there’s always ways to do that, and there are always ways to get around paying taxation as well.”

 

The ABC reported yesterday on the Locals locked out of the overheated Byron Bay housing market.   One Resident, a father of four, faces the prospect of being evicted at the end of the month because the converted garage he was renting for $300/week is being renovated for use as short-term holidays.  He predicts tourists/visitors will pay $300/night.

 

Expedia’s Australian brand, Stayz, ran an online seminar/’webinar’ this morning.  Their key objective is to “remain as unaffected by regulation as possible”.  Their answer to all things short-term rental: 

 

A new, largely Industry-administered body to process and adjudicate questions about amenity, noise and overcrowding.  

 

There was no mention during the webinar of the 2012 Industry-administered Code of Conduct and the failure to date to address questions on short-term rentals.  

 

‘Privacy Legislation’ was referenced with regards to keeping the identity of Stayz operators private, however no specific Legislation or Act was nominated.  At no time during the Stayz webinar was their acknowledgement of or referral to case law precedence or Legislation already in place.  

 

And not surprisingly, there was no disclosure of parent company Expedia’s formal partnership with the NSW Government via its Tourism arm, DestinationNSW.

 

Stayz’s Corporate and Government Affairs spokesman Eacham Curry’s closing advice to landlords was in response to a question from someone ‘assumed to be from NSW’ - how will State Government regulate and control any maximum ‘night cap’ per year.  Mr Curry:

 

“…There are ‘night caps’ that operate in different parts of the world…we’ve got the facilities and the technology built to actually assist Governments who have imposed night caps in such a way as to be able to record that, and I think you’d probably be able to understand that when you’ve used our platforms you can see how things are booked and what’s available to be seen and what’s not available.  It’s not too hard to rejig things in such a way to be (sic) actually be able to report that information so that it can be policed too a bit. Now if somebody wanted to try and get around it, well there’s always ways to do that, and there are always ways to get around paying taxation as well.”

 

A transmission failure resulted in a gap at this point.  Mr Curry’s response picket up with:

 

“…break the law if that was imposed, although we continue to impress on…(transmission fail)…about the impact of our sector…” 

 

Stayz announced that it would send a link to a recording of the webinar tomorrow morning.

 

NSW Real Estate Agent and Australian Short Term Rental Accommodation Association (ASTRA) board director Joan Bird is surveying Stayz operators for information “to help further this rapidly growing industry” and its penetration into Housing.  ASTRA will be approaching “government bodies such as Tourism, Dept of Planning and Fair Trading”.

 

Airbnb Ireland again emailed Australian users yesterday, calling on all to petition a WA Economics and Industry Standing Committee, claiming: 

 

“Powerful vested interests want to burden local hosts with extreme red tape, like costly registration, and restrict people’s choice…(they) even want to rob some locals of their choice to share completely with blanket bans”.  

 

Airbnb hacks with powerful vested interests might well have been staring in the mirror as they composed and sent their email.  Airbnb landlords could of course share their homes with tenants.  Alas their counter-argument is that tenants can’t/don’t pay the inflated short-term rental rates sought.  While Airbnb takes its commission on every transaction.

 

Homes not Hotels      Communities not Transit Zones       

People before Profits      Neighbours not Strangers

 

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