‘HOUSING CRISIS FORCES RESIDENTS TO LIVE IN FREEZING CAMPGROUNDS’
ABC News (17/06/22): “The cost of renting a home in regional New South Wales has been rising sharply. The prices and limited availability mean many families have few options.” According to a NSW South Coast Council, there are about 50 families living at one campsite in freezing conditions, with many more families camping out along the coast... Eurobodalla Mayor Matthew Hatcher wants to limit short-term rentals to 90-nights per year; presumably the mayor knows that short-term rental operators can/do list properties across sometimes hundreds of platforms, making such caps ineffective? You can see the ABC news clip of a father and his two young children forced to live in a tent HERE.
Eurobodalla Council Area – May 2022:
1,114 Active Airbnb Rentals / 146 Homes Available for Residential Tenancies
A check on NSW State MPs Register of Disclosures this week showed two Members of the Legislative Council who have declared income from short-term holiday rentals. Another Parliamentarian in the Legislative Assembly owns, together with his wife, three properties. One of those properties is visible across several platforms, including Airbnb, where the nightly charge is $756.50 – a minimum two-night stay is $1,513.00. A guide to the ‘Estimated Rent’ on this dwelling is $339 pw. This short-term rental is leased through Jill and Ian Foster, The Lantern Thredbo Apartments. They currently list 62 properties on Airbnb. (Two NSW State MPs were emailed, requesting confirmation of their short-term rental activities and links to properties rented on Airbnb-type platforms. Neither replied.)
According to Ian Foster’s Linkedin profile, he was President of the Thredbo Chamber of Commerce until January 2009 – 17 years 1 month. Another short-term rental operator in the area, Joan Bird of Snow Escape Holidays – 20 holiday rentals - was formerly a Board Member of Tourism Snowy Mountains. Mr Foster and Ms Bird would know those at Snowy Monaro Regional Council, who could help in consulting with them on housing and their short-term rentals.
According to NSW Land and Environment Court case law, where a Council fails to enforce residential zoning:
“…this is unsatisfactory and amounts to an effective abrogation by the council of its fundamental duties and responsibilities. These duties include, amongst other things, to manage development and coordinate the orderly and economic use of land within the area under its control.”
There has been much press this week about the housing crisis in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia. Airbnb has provided their standard media response when comment is sought. Director, Government/Corporate Affairs Eacham Curry for Stayz/Expedia Group– Revenue US$8.60 billion (2021) – Significant pain coming for Airbnb owners:
"Councils must recognise the benefit short-term rental accommodation (STRA) brings to the local economy. The holiday rental industry injects about $201.5 million to the Brisbane tourism region and pre-pandemic supported up to 1456 full time jobs. It doesn’t make sense to then punish mum and dad homeowners by imposing higher rates or unfairly restricting how they can and can’t use their properties.”
Surely Mr Curry, individuals would still travel, whether short-term rentals were on offer or not. Or as another commentator wrote:
"We can argue the consequences back and forth, but one thing is for sure, the effect on the market is not negative for landowners. Airbnb rentals will keep upward pressure on rents, feeding inevitably into rising prices in some regions as the earnings of the site increase the amount banks are willing to lend."
Those Airbnb/Stayz ‘mum and dad homeowners’ will know that the Australian Short-Term Rental Association (ASTRA) is hosting a two-day conference on the Gold Coast, “run by the industry for the industry”. Panel Discussions, Masterclasses, Keynote Sessions, Networking Opportunities, Trade Exhibitions and a Cocktail Gala will see mums and dads busy. Speakers include Julie George, author of “Million Dollar Host” (61 homes on Airbnb under Host My Home), Will Creedon of ‘Alloggio Group’ – not sure if he’s a ‘dad’; Alloggio lists 1,308 homes as holiday rentals, and Yoav Tourel from Guesty – “with over 100,000 properties managed on the platform…”.
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NSW Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts MP, must immediately rescind Rob Stokes’ (Affordable Rental Housing) (Short-term Rental Accommodation) 2021 (SEPP).
Local Councils must be mandated to enforce residential planning, zoning or approval to prevent short-term commercial letting of housing. The proliferation of these properties is a huge problem for housing affordability and availability, for the living conditions of neighbouring residents and for legitimate tourism accommodation providers.
The NSW Government must refer Airbnb, DestinationNSW and other online platforms to the ACCC, when and where the platform/s are aiding and abetting the “Illegal Use of Residential Dwellings”.