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In 2015 Greens MP Jamie Parker called for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of legislation covering the short-term rental of residential dwellings in NSW. City of Sydney’s Roy Cotton told Inquiry Members: “our City of Sydney is focusing on making sure we are looking after vulnerable people, making people safe and doing what we can as a council to ensure that that type of illegal accommodation is not in our area”. Mr Cotton added that Council “must investigate breaches when a dwelling is rented out on a temporary basis on Airbnb…” In reply, Parliamentary Committee Member Jamie Parker noted that, as with Randwick and Sydney City Councils by way of clear examples:

“…the development consent specifically excluded short-stay accommodation and other forms of hotels.”

Jamie Parker was correct to highlight that Airbnb-type agreements are prohibited in residential dwellings from both a Federal and State Government perspective. Jamie Parker quoted the example of Land and Environment Court Orders on the Bridgeport building in the Sydney CBD, where owners had purchased residential property with a construction certificate and development consent that specifically exclude short-term letting, with the consent further validated by the City of Sydney’s occupation certificate. State MPs and others were openly flouting this legislation at Bridgeport.

The City of Sydney’s website states that their “building certification team can provide advice and reports on Building Code of Australia compliance. Part of a certifier’s role in insuring a construction certificate is to classify the building or structure in accordance with the BCA. This also applies when an occupation certificate is issued. The BCA is a…Commonwealth Government agency”. BCA definitions on housing and commercial building compliance are clear.

Much has been written of late on the failure of Legislators to enforce Australian Building Codes. Today Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore “has lashed the state government’s regulation of the building industry as breathtakingly irresponsible, saying a lack of independent certification has paved the way for buildings that were unfit for occupation”. Concurrently Clover Moore’s Council Administrators are refusing to enforce BCA legislation in terms of certification and illegal short-term rentals.

Ultimo-based MadeComfy (with 275 Airbnb properties and some 7,280 reviews) is recommending Sydney’s best suburbs to invest in for Airbnb properties. ‘Top Sydney Suburbs’ include: Surry Hills, Newtown, Randwick, Coogee, Redfern, Leichhardt, Paddington, Darlinghurst, Bondi Beach, Chippendale, Haymarket, North Sydney, Maroubra, Manly, Waterloo, Rozelle, Balmain, Annandale, Woollahra, Marrickville, Woolloomooloo, Pyrmont, Potts Point, Camperdown and of course, the City of Sydney. If we are not mistaken, in each of these suburbs Airbnb rentals are “illegal”. Yet Airbnb operations are booming while accredited accommodation providers’ businesses are ruined.

Will Jamie Parker MP refer to our ICAC the issue of State MPs’ failure to disclose ownership of properties, income from their short-term ‘Illegal Use’, and the MPs later voting in Parliament on related legislation? Will Mr Parker also address NSW Local Councils’ refusal to enforce Federal Building Codes and Zoning, which in turn denies Residents of their proprietary rights and ignores Land and Environment Court case law?

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