AIRBNB COPS ONGOING FINES


Seems there are reports across Media outlets far and wide, in terms of the disruptive impacts of short-term holiday rentals. In Paris, following a recent € 8 million fine, Airbnb has again been penalised – this time €300,000 for “non-compliance with the regulations provided for Consular Code applicable to digital platform operators”. The repression of fraudraises the tone against the giant of tourist rentals between individuals. It is reported that “checks on the website were carried out by the investigation service of the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control”. Controls showed “the absence of information relating, for each advertisement, to the quality of the supplier professional or private, to the provisions of the Consumer Code on the right of withdrawal and those of the Civil Code in matters of law of obligations and of civil liability”. A study was commissioned by members of Internal Market and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament and presented in December 2020 on how short-term rental platforms like Airbnb fail to cooperate with cities and the need for strong regulations to protect housing.


In Scotland, four tourism organisations have resigned from the Scottish Government’s working group on short-term rentals, claiming it is “not fit for purpose”. In a BBC report, the groups, which include the Scottish B&B Association, accused ministers of disregarding their concerns over impending licensing legislation.


One might remember that in April 2017, CEO of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), Carol Giuseppi, shocked many by announcing a ‘world-first’ agreement between TAA and Stayz. In February 2019 Ms Giuseppi stepped down from her position at TAA, only to reappear in the following June, when appointed General Manager of the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA). A 29 January 2020 submission from the AAoA to the NSW Government on Short-Term Rental Accommodation Planning concluded: “’Visitor and tourist accommodation’ is a vibrant part of the visitor economy…The sector is a major employer, supporting a total of 25,600 jobs in NSW, 14.0% of total direct tourism employment in NSW and is also a major indirect employer through the supply of products such as linen, bedding, flowers, AV and other equipment, food and beverage and much more…we support a strong STRA regulatory framework for STRA that, currently falls outside the definition of ‘tourist and visitor accommodation, and therefore does not comply with the legislation and regulations outlined above. A framework that protects visitor safety and amenity, ensures the sustainability of investors in ‘tourist and visitor accommodation’, protects neighbourhood character and commences a process to level the playing field.” In other words, the AAoA would appear to now support a framework that results in the short-term tourist/visitor rental of residential housing, in direct competition of its accredited accommodation constituency.


Carol Giuseppi stepped down from AAoA in June 2021.


We were advised yesterday via a social media group of the Draft State Environmental Planning Policy [SEPP] for Housing, one component of a broader effort to gain “efficiencies” by reducing the extent of regulation governing the NSW Planning System. The SEPP claims to improve the legibility and consistency of the State’s housing policy and includes emerging forms of alternative housing. The current draft of the Housing SEPP is on exhibition until 29 August 2021. The consultation draft does not include new provisions included in phases 1 and 2 of the reform. These will be added to the SEPP upon its finalisation, intended for October 2021. Recent changes to SEPP covering short-term rental accommodation, permitting the use of all residential housing as tourist/visitor accommodation, will also be added at this point.


If you care to listen to (John Barilaro’s nemesis) friendlyjordies on all things ‘planning’, see this YouTube link dated 22 August. In the past 24 hours it has already had 65,000+ viewings.


In Ireland, the Government is cracking down on Airbnb while their ‘land agency’ will receive a further €300m in funding to build more houses. The measures, which will form part of the Government’s ‘Housing for All’ policy program could return thousands of homes to the rental market. As Ireland records a significant shortage of rental stock, a new report has shown that fewer than 800 properties are available to rent outside Dublin, while many more short-term rentals are available. In Galway, the number of short-term rentals is more than ten times the number of houses or apartments available for long-term rental. New Irish legislation will see property owners unable to advertise a short-term rental unless they have received “the requisite planning permission”. Based on information to date, Santa Monica (Ca) is the only city with a proven successful short-term rental ordinance. Only registered short-term rentals can be made available. Obviously anything that depends on the likes of Airbnb, Stayz etc being forthcoming or transparent will fail. We can see examples of owners registering one unit/house. When clients book, they are then (re)directed to multiple different homes. In this recent media release we gave a small example of the number of homes for rent in NSW, compared to homes listed as holiday rentals.


Commercial landlords in Edinburgh are again complaining about recent moves to clamp down on Airbnb; they will soon be required to have “change of use” planning permission to run commercial short-term rentals. The detrimental effects of short-term rentals are captured in this article in The Scotsman. There are NSW Residents who can attest to having these conditions, and often much worse, forced upon them. Yet our Media remains, in the main, silent on the subject. And so too our NSW legislators.


Due in part to the spread of Airbnb properties, one of Los Angeles most expensive neighbourhoods filled up with tents housing displaced locals.


Here: Motel Businesses fight cruel blows of lockdown. Lockdowns hit hard for regional hotels in NSW. The NSW Government has reportedly ordered Byron Council to undertake an Economic Impact Study into the different models for Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL). Closing date on the survey is 7:00 pm on 1 September. Bega Valley Shire Council is seeking feedback on its planning proposal to change minimum site areas for dwellings, multi-dwelling housing and residential flat buildings in order to increase the supply of housing in the shire. ‘Find out more’ here. Morning Peninsula Shire is “committed to keeping (its) community safe…welcoming the increased police presence to deal with lockdown violators – Airbnb landlord/clients find thousands of dollars. NSW will NOT ADOPT the minimum accessibility standards in the National Construction Code - “SO wrong”, writes Kate Colvin, National Spokesperson for Everybody’s Home.


Two weeks ago we wrote to NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes. We put to the Minister:


“A 2017 NSW Government, Planning & Environment Options Paper on Short-Term Holiday Letting said that in 2014, there were an estimated 216,000 STHL premises in NSW/ACT.


Please update us on the number of homes in NSW now lost to Short-Term Holiday Lets?


In 2015, San Francisco Office of Economic Analysis, Chief Economist Ted Egan and Principal Economist Asim Khan, reported that removing a single housing unit from the residential housing market would have a total negative economic impact on a city’s economy of approximately -US$250,000 to –US$300,000 per year. This exceeds the annual total economic benefit from visitor spending, host income and hotel tax, given the prevailing short-term rental rates at that time.


Please advise the negative economic effect for each house removed today from the NSW residential housing supply?


The NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) Amendment (Short-term Rental Accommodation) 2021, section 51E (g) “the use of the dwelling for the purposes of short-term rental accommodation must otherwise be lawful, and Note. In addition to the requirements set out in this Part, adjoining owners’ property rights, the applicable common law and other legislative requirements for approvals, licences, permits and authorities still apply. For example--…(b) conditions of development consent, or a lease, may impose additional restrictions.”


Given that owners of dwellings in NSW bought into residential buildings and homes in residential zones where consent conditions prevent commercial activity and short-term letting and all its attendant consequences, and that the SEPP clearly makes references to adjoining owners’ property rights, group members/home owners in Northern and Southern NSW, another of our cohort who operates accredited B&Bs, and I - a residential apartment owner - ask your confirmation of:

  1. Exactly which “adjoining owners’ property rights” are to be ignored?

  2. What NSW legislation permits circumvention of National Construction Codes, particularly Class 1(a)/Class 2?

  3. What NSW legislation permits circumvention of Federal Disability Access legislation?

  4. How can NSW Residents see enforced any ‘Code of Conduct’, given NSW Supreme Court precedent?

  5. Given the long line of NSW case law judgments on this issue, on what legal basis has ministerial discretion been applied to circumvent the proprietary rights of existing NSW residential title deed holders?

You would be aware that NSW LNP colleagues whose short-term rental properties – listed on 155 booking platforms – were captured in NSW Land and Environment Court Orders with Penal Notice; that these MPs went on to vote on legislation relating to short-term holiday rentals without disclosing conflicts of interest.

You would also be aware of correspondence from a NSW Senior Counsel – specialising in Planning, environmental and local government law, building and construction, negligence of statutory authorities - on this matter.”


We are awaiting Minister Rob Stokes’ reply.


#Right2Housing Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits

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