Podcast: Angst as Airbnb code of conduct flagged


A strange thing happened on the Flat Chat Statcounter a few weeks ago.  Statcounter is the software that tells us how many people are reading the website … (more than 4000 a week, if you must know, and still growing)

Anyway, there was a whole bunch of searches from the NSW Department of Energy and the Environment, which sounds as Orwellianly conflicted as a Department of Peace and Arms Sales, to me.  But what do I know?

I definitely don’t know why the Department of E and E would even be remotely interested in Flat Chat … certainly to the extent of reading page after page on the website.

I mean, we are as into the environment as anyone, and apartment blocks do use energy (quite a lot, if truth be told). But we wouldn’t be anyone’s first call for advice about either of the Es.

A couple of days later, all was revealed.  Former strata minister Matt Kean had been promoted to Minister for Es and, presumably, someone in his new department had been Googling his name to find out what he was like (as any sane person would).

I’m afraid to say Minister Kean featured in these columns a little more often than he’d have liked, given the content of the pieces, so his new staff may have ended up with a non-impartial view of their incoming boss.

Anyway, he’s strata history and we have put a call into his successor, Kevin Anderson, for an introductory chat, albeit to no avail. We assume he is too busy juggling the various poisoned chalices that he has inherited as Innovation and Better Regulation Minister.

One of those contentious issues is the Code of Conduct for short-term holiday lets – or Airbnb Rules, as they will soon be known – which is the bit of the new legislation that has been holding up the implementation of the rest of the law.

Last week we predicted it would be the end of the year before we saw the new laws.  Then we heard they were already on the photocopy machines of Macquarie St, ready for a spellcheck and final release.

The rules themselves are likely to be anodyne, worthy and dull.  It’s the dogfight that will follow, as the online holiday letting businesses try to stave off the spread of anti-holiday let by-laws, that will be really interesting.

You can hear more about this on the latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast.

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