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After more shootings, Airbnb’s US35 billion dollar man Brian Chesky has taken to twitter, promising to verify the accuracy of its 7,000,000 listings and the identity of every landlord. And if client expectations fall short on arrival, they will be moved into something “just as nice…or they will get 100% of their money back” (see photo). And when your neighbours’ Airbnb party turns into a deadly gunfight, duck for cover and call Airbnb’s newly formed ‘rapid response team’, who will storm your building or street. Yesterday’s disturbing video link of an Airbnb shooting has suddenly been removed from the Internet. (For verification purposes, the Dallas Police case report # is 221567-2019.)

It took the killing of five people in one incident in the San Francisco Bay Area for Airbnb Management to finally hold a Media conference. The sceptical among us may suggest that Airbnb's policy changes might be too little, too late, given its reputation for antagonising local governments. Experts however are not quite aligned on what the sham ‘party house’ ban means going into an IPO.

Three days ago we wrote of 30 US Airbnb shootings in six months – the figure is now 32, that we know of, plus here are some of the recent Canadian Airbnb shootings that have been sourced by our North American contacts:

Bridle Path, Toronto – 04/08/19 (1 critically injured)

Vaughn, Toronto 22/09/19 (at least 20 shell casings were located at the home)

Toronto – 29/09/19 (1 bystander critically injured)

Newmarket – 05/10/19 (1 dead, 1 injured)

Nepean – 20/10/19 (2 injured, 1 critically)

Vaughn, Toronto – 01/11/19 (at least 10 shots fired)

Edmonton – 01/11/19 (2 critically injured)

The Byron Shire Council is seeking evidence-based information on the effects of short-term rentals. A new survey by Southern Cross University (SCU) will highlighted the plight of small, accredited accommodation providers. The survey is available here. Dr Sabine Muschter from the School of Business and Tourism at SCU reports:

“This research will provide an opportunity for traditional accommodation providers to have their say about the impacts that increasing numbers of short-term holiday rentals are having on their business operations. On the one hand, an approved accommodation provider faces a high level of regulation and pays high commercial tax, council rates, and levies. On the other, a neighbouring Airbnb is offering a similar bed for tourists but has not been required to comply with any regulations, not even fire and safety, nor do they pay commercial tax or commercial council rates. This imbalance is perceived by AAPs as grossly unfair and it creates anger and frustration among the traditional providers in the shire.”

The ‘imbalance’ caused by Airbnb, Stayz, Expedia and many other platforms – the State Government’s Destination NSW included – and their landlords is also provoking financial ruin for many small accredited operators. And here too is Sydney-based AURA, with “14,261 stays online. We asked how many of their listings were accredited, licensed accommodation providers. They haven’t responded.

Byron Residents are expecting Council to release a report, whereby they may push for a 90-night ‘cap’ on short-term rentals. Some feel that the cap was a pork barrel promise in an attempt to see Ben Franklin (Nationals) elected at the last State elections; Franklin lost to the Green’s Tamara Smith. Byron Echo’s acting editor wrote yesterday:

“The fact that local housing prices have catapulted into realms beyond understanding is less about supply and more about the perceived desirability of Byron Bay and the surrounding areas. This isn’t set to change any time soon. There is too much money invested in properties that are being rented out on platforms such as Airbnb.”

Southport Magistrates Court has upheld a by-law banning short-term letting at the Fairway Island development on Hope Island Resort in a decision welcomed by Queensland Strata Community Association president James Nickless but slated by other leading industry figures. The Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association (ARAMA) president Trevor Rawnsley says he is concerned unit owners governed by the BBCMA might be persuaded to launch costly and futile legal battles in the belief that the decision is relevant to their property.

In NSW, Airbnb Management continue to completely ignore Residential Zoning and Development Approvals and Land and Environment Court Orders that specifically ban short-term rentals.

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