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NSW South Coast State MPs Andrew Constance and Gareth Ward, together with Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, have appealed to non-resident ratepayers with holiday homes to list properties with local Real Estate Agents so that those in need can find housing.

In May 2016 Members of Parliament were advised by the Strategic Planning Manager of one NSW South Coast Council that an ”estimated 4,000-plus holiday homes are a feature of our local government area”. Last year the same Council staffer wrote: “Council has not set a limit on the number of holiday homes in our city…Council is comfortable with the position it has taken in regard to the short term rental of residential dwellings in our area”. In terms of homes lost to commercial rentals, along with the Byron Shire, this same South Coast area shares the mantle of “the most penetrated (Airbnb) market in the world”. Is Council still ‘comfortable’?

The Northern Star (13/01/20) reports: Crazy Coastal rental prices ‘a shocking sign of the times’. Homes in Byron Bay are listed for $4,000+ per week – “Goodbye to the good local people who were born (and) raised here. I’ve seen locals in tears as they pack their cars to move two hours away, while the new owner of the home decides to Airbnb it out and live luxurious lifestyles off the proceedings.” Disability worker Skye De’ville says, “It’s time for the people to stand up against this, no more Airbnb. It’s bloody ridiculous – I’m ashamed to say I live in Byron.” CoreLogic’s head of Australian Research Eliza Owen said: “I think these prices are shocking, personally. A market like Byron, and parts of Ballina, may also see the supply of rentals crowded out by short term accommodation from holiday makers…”

We are not alone. In the wine region of WA, Margaret River accredited B&B provider Debbie Noonan writes that two years ago there were 200 Airbnb rentals in her area. Today there are 2,700. In other terms, one-in-seven homes are operating as Airbnb properties, fast approaching Byron Shire’s estimated one-in–five homes.

Anger and disgust continues on Social Media over what many are calling “Airbnb’s PR stunt” of offering so-called bushfire relief.

Deborah Labi, moderator of Facebook Group entitled Australian Accommodation Community, has launched a Host a Hero initiative, with the “intention of saying thank you to the firies…” Ms Labi writes that she has had a holiday rental business for 13 years and feels like she is “running my own private hotel” - Ruby’s Holiday Residences. Listing 15 holiday rentals in Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Surry Hills and Tamarama, in June last year a City of Sydney Staff Member wrote that Council had already issued Ms Labi with “a formal warning requesting compliance”, obviously to no avail. The irony of course would be that the holiday homes offered to volunteer fire fighters would fail in terms of compliance with Building Code plus Fire & Rescue NSW standards.

A Senior Member at F&RNSW advises today that the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is reporting they are still processing the publication of responses to its August 2019 call to ‘Have Your Say on Short-term Holiday Rentals’. Nothing can be found on the DPIE’s – particularly that linking the fire risks associated within the built environment or bushfire prone areas.

For several years we have provided, via our website homepage, a link to Jay Brinkmann’s summary on the Economics of Short-Term Rentals. Mr Brinkmann is the retired Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research and Education at the US Mortgage Bankers Association. Mr Brinkmann forewarned precisely the pitfalls of introducing tourist dollars directly into the heart of residential neighbourhoods, and what would happen if and when there is an interruption to tourism travel – exactly that which NSW is facing at present. Do please watch the video.

And if you are concerned about housing affordability and availability, the financial viability of our small, accredited B&B, Guesthouse, Motel, and Campsite operators, please lend your support: WRITE A LETTER! Links for Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Ministers Rob Stokes, Andrew Constance, Stuart Ayres, Gareth Ward, Kevin Anderson, David Elliott, Damien Tudehope, Bronnie Taylor are here.

It’s time to “Stand Up and SHOUT!”


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