ASTRA RAISES $40,000 TO COMBAT BYRON SHIRE MAYOR ‘THREAT’
The Chair of the Australian Short-Term Rental Association (ASTRA) wrote recently (19/8) to his members. (ASTRA’s Chairman, Rob Jeffress, has somewhere in the vicinity of 580 homes listed as holiday rentals – this figure fluctuates constantly):
“…in Byron Bay, owners and operators are under attack with the local Mayor determined to ignore state planning rules and move forward with public exhibition to impose a 90 night cap on short term rentals.
As you can imagine, this would destroy an important local service, making it untenable for property owners to offer their homes, and removing a valuable contributor to the local visitor economy.
It would also put local Byron STRA operators out of businesses (sic), take away local jobs and vital sources of revenue for hundreds of local businesses.
It might have merit if it could achieve the utopian result forecast, but the policy is driven by the same ideology that created the housing problems in Byron. In this case, even the basic premise is fundamentally flawed with insistence that there are some 5,200 (*)STRA properties in Byron when only some 1,180 (**) are registered with DPE.
We're pleased to support a new 'ASTRA - Byron’ group which has overwhelming support from local operators and business and has already raised around $40,000 to respond to this threat.
Colin Hussey (1) is chair and Sarah Workman (2) is project managing the campaign. Zsuzsanna (3) and Yoav (4) have joined the host of local operators to represent ASTRA.
We’ll keep you up to date with this important situation.
For Other Regulation updates, while Byron is front and centre at the moment, we are also actively engaged with regulators or with regulation in South Australia, Queensland, ACT and New Zealand as well as ongoing work with the NSW Government.
While we are keen to support local businesses in WA, we are not currently engaged and are waiting on local operators to come unite into a single proactive voice so we can respond to regulatory threat (sic) in WA.”
ASTRA also announced a ‘partnership with SUPERHOG – “Our biometric screening and ID verification software not only assesses the risk level of every reservation but simultaneously allows you to remove booking restrictions and increase your direct bookings”.
Of course, Airbnb’s IPO document, filed with SEC, (16/11/2020) states: “We do not verify the identity of all of our hosts and guests nor do we verify or screen third parties who may be present during a reservation made through our platform.” And it is regular practice that Airbnb (and others’) short-term rental landlords do not provide full details of their identities to their clients or legislators.
In ‘private’ social media groups, short-term rental landlords discuss many ways to avoid what might be a State or Local Government imposed limit on the number of nights a residential dwelling can operate as an unstaffed commercial property. As well the recommendation to list properties across a relatively unlimited number of online booking platforms, listing properties under different ‘host’ names with different photographs is also proposed, with one operator writing that Airbnb condones this practice (see photo).
AUSTRALIA'S ONE MILLION EMPTY HOMES:
A recent article written by Emma Baker, Professor of Housing Research, University of Adelaide, Andrew Beer, Executive Dean, UniSA Business, University of South Australia, and Marcus Blake, Senior Data Scientist and Manager, Australian Geospatial Health Laboratory, University of Canberra, asked readers to ‘look where Australia’s 1 million empty homes are and why they’re vacant’. One of the questions posed was: “Is it Airbnb taking up homes that could be used for families?” The authors write that perhaps the most important contributor to the empty homes story is holiday homes. “Estimates vary, but we know 2 million Australians own one or more properties other than their own home. It is estimated up to 346,581 of these properties may be listed on just one rental platform, Airbnb.”
OUR EMPTY SUBURBS:
A band of seven Queenslanders left their Airbnb at 22 Trinity Avenue Dawes Point yesterday. They reported having had ‘a wonderful time’…the Airbnb was close to everything; it was extremely quiet – “there’s absolutely no one about” - their bedding by all accounts was ‘very good’. However, there is ‘mould on the top floor’, and the group recommended contacting the nearby ‘boutique bar owner around the corner’, who by all accounts runs better Airbnb properties in the street behind her. Said Airbnbs would be in High Street, Millers Point.
In this one short stretch of road – High Street, Millers Point (see link for photo) - in what was until recently an enclave of social housing and a treasured home for the local community, we have been able to identify 32 short-term rental listings:
Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones #Right2Housing People before Profits
Neighbours not Strangers