FOREIGN-OWNED BOOKING PLATFORMS KEEP THUMBING THEIR NOSES…


Despite Schoolies being urged to stay away from Byron Bay and other NSW North Coast areas, local residents report that most illegal short-term rentals are already fully booked for the annual ‘end-of-year-rage’. One new listing featured this week by Byron Bay Holiday Rentals and Airbnb is a Possum Shoot ‘shed/barn’. It appears that in 2017 the owner/s were issued with an order on their buildings - two SEPP1 infringement notices. A quote from the conditions of consent signed off by Byron Shire Council for further development on the property: "Use of existing structures - The existing "dwelling", "existing farm building" and "exempt shed" shown on the plans must not be used for the purposes of a dwelling-house/s, for any residential habitation or as tourist facilities at any time."

The oldest (2017) Development Application for Possum Shoot Shed stated that the owners were required to demolish two (2) buildings. They appear to have done this. Seems they were allowed to keep the exempt farm shed with the proviso that it was not to be converted to a habitable dwelling or tourist/visitor accommodation. It appears…and as stated in A Perfect Stay’s blurb…this shed has recently been converted into a holiday let. Questions could be asked of Council as to whether a development approval for a secondary development has been sought and obtained and if developer contributions were paid, thereby permitting unstaffed tourist/visitor operations?

And good old Expedia (Stayz) in busy running press promotions. Among its ‘Top 20 Holiday Homes for 2020’, “New South Wales is home to seven finalists including a pet friendly cottage in Berry, a beachside studio in Bundeena, a Bondi Penthouse, a family home at Pretty Beach, a Mudgee cottage and two South Coast properties in Scarborough and Gerroa”. One finalist, located at 6/58 Fletcher Street Bondi, was also featured in a June 2019 Financial Review article. Despite being an ‘Entire home’ listing, its owner Liesje Clement claims: "It's our primary residence which we bought in 2013 and renovated in the same year…(and we) can earn between $450 and $750 per night”. The fact that the property is zoned ‘Residential’ obviously counts for nothing – Waverley Local Government Area has the second highest number of homes in the State lost to illegal short-term rentals.

Within the space of two days last week, Victorian Police made a drug bust in Frankston – an Airbnb at 75 Rosemary Crescent – plus Police found drugs, guns, ammunition and cash at another Airbnb in Queen Street Melbourne.

Another Victorian, Mathew Zaffiro, is reportedly “racking up a lengthy criminal record”. According to the Herald Sun (paywall), Zaffiro, “the Frankston North crook, trashed a Dandenong Airbnb apartment and stole two expensive - $4,000 - bikes”.

Either Victoria is the only ‘hot spot’ in terms of criminal Airbnb and Stayz activity, or our good friends in the Media decline to highlight the true impacts of Airbnb/Stayz et al on our residential communities here in New South Wales.

Airbnb and its cohort are still steadfastly refusing to comply with Federal, State and Local Government legislation. Concurrently, they are treating with contempt the proprietary rights of residents in neighbouring properties and communities. Why are they getting away with this? Look to our Deputy Premier and State Opposition Leader’s Airbnb rentals. And consider too that Ministers and the State Government’s DestinationNSW are ignoring Land and Environment Court case law judgments and coroners’ reports and instructions, while neck deep in aiding and abetting the widespread “Illegal Use of Residential Premises”.

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© 2016 by NEIGBOURS NOT STRANGERS:  Residential Housing is for Housing Residents - Homes Not Hotels - Communities Not Transit Zones - People Before Profits

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