AIRBNB/SCAMBNB - EVERYONE’S NIGHTMAREPolice assaulted at Sydney CBD Airbnb Property
During a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into short-term rentals, the Chairperson of a Strata Network Organisation stated that, despite residential zoning and certification, residents in strata pools must be given their “democratic right to (retrospectively) decide whether their building will form part of a (short-term) letting pool, (and) to decide how common property will be used”. After all, his organisation was happy to profit from the sale of a template for a by-law prohibiting short-term rentals, IF enough owners were in agreement. Parliament seized upon this: the concept of residential zoning in its entirety was set aside, and owners corporations could indeed introduce a by-law banning Airbnb-type rentals, but only where the key-holder of a dwelling could not claim that the premises was their ‘primary place of residence’.
Thanks to a newspaper article, one learns that neighbours of a Surry Hills apartment are furious over a wild Sydney party in an Airbnb. Neighbours captured footage of an exchange between Police and revellers in a back lane near the property. According to the newspaper article, there is a by-law in place banning short-term rentals, but there was “one owner who continued to advertise their three-bedroom unit as an “entertainer’s dream” which sleeps 16 guests”.
A NSW Police report dated 16 July states that three men faced court after a Police officer was assaulted. A 32-year-old senior constable was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital “in a stable condition”. NSW Police repeatedly refer to the premises in their report as a ‘hotel’, rather than a residential dwelling used for commercial short-term rentals.
According to reporter Chantelle Francis: “It appears Airbnb removed the property (from their website) after being contacted by news.com.au.” Airbnb’s Susan Wheeldon issued the usual statement: “In NSW, all hosts and guest must adhere to the NSW Code of Conduct for the short-term rental accommodation industry.” And, in an updated statement from Airbnb today: “the party that occurred was not a booking that was made via the Airbnb platform… If nuisance behaviour does occur, neighbours can get in touch with our team via our 24/7 Neighbourhood Support Line.” In another case, residents have been told that Airbnb staff leaked details of a neighbouring complainant, with the Airbnb (g)host then threatening to take legal action over the issue. Still no NSW Minister, nor any NSW Public Servant, will confirm whether anyone has ever been issued with any form of penalty since the introduction of this Code of Conduct on 18 December 2020. And it must be stated that any individual lodging a complaint can, in line with NSW Supreme Court case law precedence, possibly be hit with a counter charge of ‘vexatious complainant’ or ‘nuisance’.
The property at 50 Ann Street, Surry Hills, has for the time being been removed from Airbnb’s website, although it still appears on Booking.com, who advise that although the property isn’t taking reservations right now, one can find “tons of other nearby properties right here”.
A violent incident recently took place at a City of Port Philip (Melbourne) Airbnb. Residents were extremely concerned for the welfare of a female in the premises and called Police. The ongoing situation is such that neighbours are fearful for their safety and have asked that all details of the incident be kept private. After more than one visit by Victorian Police, the property was subsequently removed from Airbnb’s website but bookings at $600/night can still be accessed via other platforms.
If you live near an Airbnb and have an Airbnb account, it is recommended that that account be deleted immediately. If one’s family is hurt or their property is damaged by transients at a nearby Airbnb, and one has an Airbnb account, Airbnb may try to deny claimants access to the courts and force one to arbitrate all matters, no matter how serious.