AIRBNB: DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS and VERY BIG LOOPHOLES
“We will take you to jail. I’m not going to allow any individuals to upend the process. I can’t make this any clearer. You absolutely must stay home, and that means your home, not somebody else’s home, not an Airbnb.” One Mayor’s response to those who continue to party in short-term rentals; Chicago’s Mayor, Lori Lightfoot. On Queensland’s Gold Coast last Friday night, police attended two noisy Airbnb parties, handing out 25 fines totalling $33,350. In northern NSW and elsewhere, neighbouring residents are still asking about the legality of Airbnb and its cohort running holiday rentals while travel restrictions apply. This Airbnb shared house at 4 Benjamin Street Kyogle shows reviews for March and April plus multiple dates blocked May, presumably for more short-term visits. The landlord also lists rooms at the adjoining home, 5 Pratt Street. Both properties are located in a residential zone. Neighbours express serious concerns about multiple people coming and going. With “stay at home” orders in place, surely short-term rental landlords could just lie low and save lives – no?
In Arlington Texas there’s local hero Jessica Sheedy Black. Since May 2019 Jessica has been keeping count of the shootings at Airbnb rentals. Jessica has just tweeted that San Diago police are reporting another shooting at an Airbnb party-turned-violent – bringing to 75 the number of reported Airbnb shootings in North America in 12 months. In this latest incident, Police officers are said to have detained 10 people, with two others taken to hospital with blunt force trauma. In order to keep her list credible, Jessica has “only been including incidents with media reports confirming the shootings”. Meanwhile Jessica has noted an additional nine Airbnb shootings that are unconfirmed by the mainstream media.
The NSW Department of Fair Trading and Minister Kevin Anderson are offering changes to residential tenancy laws plus a ‘Code of Conduct’ as a trade-off against illegal short-term rentals. What the Department and the Minister haven’t disclosed to platform users is that all commercial ‘hosts’ will be by-passing still more legislation - the NSW Residential Tenancy Act. And by doing so and popping clients into residential dwellings, perhaps what Airbnb, Stayz and ASTRA’s clients should know is that they’ve been given the keys of a home, along with exclusive possession. Correct us if we’re wrong, but doesn’t this equate to a common law lease and the only way a ‘host’ can evict those refusing to leave – who are in possession of the landlord or tenant’s property - is to take said member of Airbnb’s ‘trusted community’ all the way to the NSW Supreme Court, which could take months and cost…? Pay for a night, and say for a month!
Another observation pertaining to Minister Anderson and Fair Trading’s quick fix – the ‘Code of Conduct’ – is perhaps a failure to advise that the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) – can only make orders against a person who is a resident of NSW. So, for interstate landlords and clients, it appears they have yet another ‘get-out-of-jail’ card thanks to the shredding of current NSW legislation. And seriously, can the Minister Anderson and Fair Trading explain away the NSW Land and Environment Court’s judgment that such a ‘Code’ “will not provide an effective means of addressing potential (and real) amenity impacts”, plus NSW Supreme Court case law whereby any short-term rental owner or occupier, quoting legal precedence, can make a common law claim of nuisance against anyone seeking to have enforced the State Government’s ‘Code of Conduct’?
How about we stay with our current ‘world’s best’ legislation and see NSW Local Council’s mandated to enforce residential zoning? It’s so very straightforward and law-abiding individuals are much happier when residential housing is used to house residents.
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits
Neighbours not Strangers