SHORT-TERM RENTALS: DON’T DARE CHALLENGE THE MINISTER


In a recent Facebook post, we wrote that multiple NSW MPs had had their short-term rentals captured on NSW Land and Environment Court Orders that included a Penal Notice, MPs John Barilaro and Jodi McKay are our most high profile State MPs engaged in (what legal counsel for the City of Sydney writes is an) “illegal use of premises”, and that Planning Minister Rob Stokes has used ministerial discretion to change NSW legislation so that short-term rental activity is now ‘complying development’ in every type of dwelling. “Catastrophic consequences for neighbours’ home lives and proprietary rights, housing affordability and availability, plus the rights of small accredited accommodation providers.” In the post, we provided a link to Minister Stokes’ SEPP. Postings now routinely disappear.


Facebook writes today that our comments go against their community standards on spam…Facebook has these standards “to prevent things like false advertising, fraud and security breaches”.


So by way of establishing the veracity of our statements, we provide the following:

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment now asks via Facebook: “What do you want for the future of housing in NSW?” The Department writes that they have launched a landmark survey seeking views on housing, choice and urban design in the places we live. “We are bringing planning processes up to date and making them easier…the SEPP spans places of all scales, from precincts, large developments, and building to infrastructure and public space.” The department is seeking the community’s views on housing choice and urban design in the places (we) live.”


One wonders exactly what is the point of such surveys. When Airbnb/Stayz rentals penetrate semi-regional areas, residential streets or residential apartment blocks, the results are predictable. As judged by the NSW Land and Environment Court, the adverse impact on the amenity and wellbeing of the (neighbouring residents), as the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates, are severe”. Plus, mixing short-term tourist/visitor rentals with permanent residents is judged, fundamentally incompatible.


In 2017 the Department Planning wrote that in 2014 there were an estimated 216,000 short-term premises in NSW/ACT. San Francisco’s Chief Economist reported that removing a single housing unit from the residential housing market would have a total economic impact on a city’s economy of -US$250k to -US$300K per year. The vast majority of Airbnb/Stayz rentals in NSW would be operating without meeting compliance requirements for commercial use. We still await Minister Stokes’ update on the true impacts of illegal short-term tourist/visitor rentals on our State.


We are literally out of words. Housing can be and is a ‘life and death’ issue. Might one be permitted to quote journalist Katharine Murphy:


“Living in close proximity to political actors thumbing their noses at basic norms, like accountability; having to coexist with leaders who feel no significant pressure to punctuate their constant spamming with competent representation or deep engagement or self reflection; bearing witness to people opting out of their responsibilities in the middle of a crisis that is literally life and death – casts a long shadow. This behaviour is beyond obnoxious, beyond unacceptable, beyond tolerable. It is a disgrace.”


#Right2Housing Homes not Hotels Communities not Transit Zones People before Profits Neighbours not Strangers

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