AIRBNB IS SPENDING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO MAKE NIGHTMARES GO AWAY While MP with $4.8M STR...
Let’s start with today’s ABC Report: “Homeless women are taking drugs to stay awake and avoid assault. NSW Police are dealing with a record number of sexual assaults, with new stats showing a 60 percent spike in reports in the state in March. But even those high numbers don’t reflect the true extent of the problem, particularly in some regional areas. That includes women living rough, with some reportedly taking drugs at night so they stay awake in the darkness.” (A 4 min 1 sec report can be heard here.) The Tenants’ Union of NSW writes on social media: “The regional rental crisis is putting so many people into dangerous situations. The NSW government must urgently invest in additional social and affordable housing, as well as homelessness services.” Yet it was the Tenants’ Union whose 2017 report said that the likes of Airbnb do not appear to have had a significant, singular impact on tenants, even in Airbnb hotspots – “rents do not seem to have risen…”
Federal NSW MP John Alexander, owner of Iona Park, the “quintessential highlands estate”, purchased in 2017 for $4.845m, is reportedly demanding the federal government consider radical plans to bring the runaway housing market under control “after new figures showed the value of the nation’s homes soared by a record $450 billion in three months”. (SMH 16/06/21) John Alexander’s Moss Vale property is available @ $2,813 average/night. Bookings via Vrbo, booking.com, Trivago, Stayz, Wotif…etc. The Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2017 that John Alexander had “not declared rental income” from his short-term rental. There must be a Federal election in the wind; the Hon John Alexander is joined in his call today by fellow MPs Tim Wilson and Gerard Rennick.
The following information is derived from a report by Bloomberg.com (paywall – article accessed once only FOC. Search: Airbnb is spending millions of dollars to make nightmares go away. We strongly recommend listening to the audio recording available. A short video is also available by clicking here. Bloomberg’s reporters highlight the case of a young, female Australian who was raped in a New York Airbnb. The victim settled for a US$7million payout, supposedly coupled with a non-disclosure clause. Bloomberg also highlights “thousands of safety instances that occur every year that the company has to handle and respond to. I’m talking situations like kidnapping, hostage cases, we’re talking murder, we’re talking rape, we’re talking the worst violent crimes that occur in our society that happen inside Airbnbs.”
Airbnb, and other online platforms, never want news of these crimes reported in the media. When do our media reports here in NSW make mention of Airbnb? Well, normally they don’t. In response to the Bloomberg article, a Sydney resident wrote a propos Pyrmont, in the City of Sydney: “It was the same building, same problem of teenagers booking (an) illegal Airbnb unit advertised for 8 people for (a) two bedroom unit.” Here are links to recent reports for the Pyrmont residential building:
July 2020 “Sydney man found dead after Pyrmont stabbing”
August 2020 - “Ninth teen charged over Pyrmont Stabbing”
November 2020 - “Man found with stab wounds in Pyrmont”
April 2021 stabbing – “Teenager stabbed in the buttocks during…”
May 2021 – “Pyrmont stabbing: Seven arrested after brawl at party in Pyrmont”
Have neighbours ventured out of doors in Pyrmont to document these stabbings…so they can take the apartment owner/occupants to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to enforce the newly introduced short-term rental ‘Code of Conduct’? If they have been so brave to enter the fray, have they been hit with a counter claim of ‘nuisance’, as per NSW Supreme Court case law?
When Minister for Fair Trading Kevin Andrews was asked during 2020-2021 Parliamentary Budget Estimates how many short-term rental complaints were received, investigations conducted and progressed to the NCAT or higher courts, how many prosecutions were conducted/were successful, and short-term rental platform users and/or properties added to the ‘exclusion register’…and what was his budget for promoting greater understanding of the Code of Conduct for the short-term rental industry, he replied:
“As there is no legislative requirement to report at the level of detail sought in this question, the Department of Customer Service does not have this information readily available. It would require significant resources to source, compile and validate this information…The diversion of resources cannot be supported at this time.”
Inside Airbnb’s ‘Black Box’ Safety Team: Company Spends Millions on Payouts: Bloomberg's article talks of Airbnb’s “safety team…shrouded in secrecy. Insiders call it the ‘black box”. One of our regular contacts in the US writes of the Bloomberg report: “This goes hand-in-hand with our local experience where there have been hundreds of complaints regarding vacation rentals, but the record shows not a single complaint.”
In our 31 March Media Release we referenced and provided a link to the University of Manchester’s ethical consumer report: The Airbnb ‘movement’ for deregulation – how platform-sponsored grassroots lobbying is changing politics. Do any NSW legislators ever care to reference the material provided…?
One must ask our NSW Minister David Elliott whether or not ‘policy’ has it that Airbnb and other short-term rental operators are not mentioned when NSW Police are attending to and reporting on criminal acts occurring at short-term rentals in NSW residential buildings and suburbs? What, if any, influence is being wielded here?
And again one must ask NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes how it is that he has ignored Federal Building Codes, NSW Land and Environment Court case law judgments, Coroners Reports and recommendations, the proprietary rights of Residential Title Deed holders and the right of every NSW resident to safe, secure, affordable housing; why has Rob Stokes, instead, passed into legislation a State Environmental Planning Policy that preferences Airbnb and its cohort ahead of residents?
#Right2Housing Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers