AIRBNB OPPONENTS TAKE FIGHT TO U.S. SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Dozens of affordable housing groups and community organisations that have long accused Airbnb of exacerbating housing shortages are taking their grievances to U.S. financial regulators just as the short-term rental giant prepares to go public.
In a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cited by The Information, the groups complain that Airbnb hasn’t complied with rules limiting short-term rentals in many cities. They contend that Airbnb should be required to disclose more information to investors about how many rentals are run by professional property managers. The groups claim these managers are siphoning apartments from residential housing markets in Paris, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, other big cities and regional areas. More than 45 Neighbourhood and Housing Organisations – Victoria’s We Live Here Movement, National Shelter Adelaide and Neighbours Not Strangers here in NSW included - have asked the US regulator to demand from Airbnb ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) accurate financial and risk data. The letter to the SEC is HERE.
“Whether it’s the ‘myth of home sharing’ espoused to cover up the vital role commercial operators play in its business model, or the ‘bans on party houses’ trotted out every time there’s a shooting at one of its rentals, Airbnb has a fundamental credibility problem. Absent firm direction from the SEC compelling the company to come clean about its practices, investors could be at great risk if they simply rely on public statements that have repeatedly proven false or inaccurate. Protecting public investors is the Commission’s primary responsibility. Given Airbnb’s remarkable history of obfuscation and opaqueness, this is one IPO that shouldn’t come to the market without a thorough vetting by the SEC.”
Byron Bay Residents Support Group VOHL have written to NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes:
“It has been more than one year since submissions for the Discussion Paper "Short Term Rental Accommodation A New Regulatory Framework" closed - 11 September, 2019. These submissions have not been publicly released.
On page 4 of this Discussion Paper it states, "All submissions will be made publicly available. Government is required by law to release that information".
Further, it states "It is also a statutory requirement that all submissions are provided to the Legislative Review Committee of Parliament". Has this legislative requirement been undertaken? Submissions to the first public exhibition "Explanation of Intended Effect STRA Planning Framework" closed on 16 November 2018. Submissions for this were made public within 2 months of this date.
I am seeking an explanation as to why there has been an inordinate delay in publication of these submissions and the future date that this oversight will be corrected."
Residents are asking if perhaps the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s delay in publication is due to the contents of a submission made by Fire & Rescue NSW, a group that the State Government actually listens to. Fire & Rescue NSW was reportedly critical of the proposal to circumvent fire and rescue guidelines when housing is used as non-accredited tourist/visitor accommodation.
Two of NSW’s highest profile Airbnb landlords – Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Opposition Leader Jodi McKay - faced off in State Parliament this week. Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson MP continued to back John Barilaro when a ‘Members – No Confidence Motion' was moved in Parliament. Minister Anderson:
“I am disgusted at the way those opposite have attacked the man. I am disgusted at the way the Opposition has belittled this man who has stood up tall, who has got a bloody nose and who has gone in hard for regional New South Wales.”
Not only did Kevin Anderson MP voice his ‘disgust’ at those voicing opposition to John Barilaro last week, in 2018 and along with other National Party MPs, Minister Anderson voted on legislation that helps facilitate John Barilaro’s use of Dungowan Estate as an Airbnb and Wedding Venue. Voting with Minister Anderson were fellow National Party MPs Thomas George and Kevin Humphries, who failed to declare a conflict of interest: both MPs were short-term rental operators, until the NSW Land and Environment Court issued Orders with Penal Notice which put an end to their “Illegal Use of Premises”. NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes joined their 2018 vote.
9News - Airbnb Hell: Warning as criminals exploit short term rentals. The landlord gave keys to her home to strangers – with zero regard for neighbouring residents.
News.com.au - John Barilaro gave the keys to his Dungowan Estate to a stranger: YouTuber Friendlyjordies brags of sex acts in NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s holiday house.
In the last five days, Friendlyjordie’s tour of John Barilaro’s estate has had 350,000 views. And counting. Warning: If you are fond of John Barilaro and Airbnb, don’t click of the link. Why do Airbnb and all other offshore online booking platforms have open access to our housing and residential communities?
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits
Neighbours not Strangers