AIRBNB/STAYZ /ASTRA – PLEASE LOOK TO THOSE NEEDING HOMES
From the NSW North and South Coasts and the suburbs of Sydney, residents write of their distress over Airbnb and Stayz parties, sometimes groups of 15-25 persons or more, still taking place in neighbouring homes. Nerves are routinely frayed by such activity but given prevailing conditions, neighbours’ anxiety levels have skyrocketed. And a simple Google search – Airbnb…self-isolation…name of suburb/locality - reveals the promotion by landlords of the short-term rental of homes and apartments as ‘self-isolation’ getaways. Byron Bay residents write that they are gravely concerned that their local health providers simply don’t have the facilities to cope with any possible large outbreak of COVID-19 in their local community.
While our Prime Minister and State Premiers introduce lockdowns and close interstate borders, Channel 9 is still suggesting one ‘checks out’ same state accommodation options through Stayz and Airbnb, suggesting “villas or other accommodation types with private pool”, similar to the property at Stanwell Tops to which, according to the ABC, 35 coronavirus cases were subsequently linked.
The hotel sector has reportedly called on the Federal Government to provide a $900 million relief package as industry leaders warn “over 300,000 jobs are at risk”.
In overseas jurisdictions reports abound of short-term rental operators listing homes on the long-term rental market plus City Officials calling for the immediate shut-down of all Airbnb-type operations. Here yesterday, in a letter (see attached) sent to our Federal Treasurer and Federal Minister for Tourism, plus State Ministers for Tourism, representatives from Airbnb, Stayz and the Australian Short Term Rental Association (ASTRA) called for, on behalf of their landlords:
Banking institutions to allow short-term rental operators to defer mortgage repayments,
Administrative relief for tax obligations on rental income from short-term rental operations,
Expanding the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure to include short-term rental operators,
Issuing rebates on tourism levies that short-term rental operators pay to local councils,
Asking assistance from State Government to rebate land taxes,
Governments to promote short-term rental operators – Airbnb, Stayz, ASTRA – in future marketing campaigns,
Facilitating closer collaborating between short-term rental operators and Tourism Australia…
Missing from Airbnb, Stayz and ASTRA’s letter is a clear statement of whether their activities are those of Mums and Dads earning a few dollars or whether they do indeed fall under the hotel sector banner and, if so, their need to act and comply as members of the hotel sector must. Missing too was any acknowledgement of the critical need to stop tenant evictions and alleviate overcrowding and homeless, which the release of their housing stock would surely aid.
Our most marginalised residents are those who must see Government resources channelled towards protecting them and their urgent housing requirements; not those who run residential housing as a side hobby. Airbnb, Stayz and ASTRA landlords, please step forward and rent homes to those in urgent need of safe, secure, affordable housing.