Roundup: Radio chat finds flaw in holiday let logic


If you are as tired of reading about Airbnb as I am of writing about them you won’t get past the end of this sentence.

However, this week I was on the James Valentine show on ABC radio doing my usual Q&A on apartment living and we needed to talk about the recent Government decision NOT to give the Coure report on holiday letting its unqualified support.

Predictably, we had no sooner finished taking a call – from a listener whose tenants had illegally sub-let their apartment on Airbnb with disastrous results  – than we got a text from a listener.

You can hear the Flat Chat spot on
Afternoons with James Valentine HERE.

Whoever they were,  they certainly had the official Airbnb party line off pat. Badly behaved guests would be given bad ratings on the website, said the text.  Also, it continued, the majority of apartment owners want the right to do what they want with their homes.

Ignoring the highly dubious effect of voluntary “ratings”, I have two problems with that last point.

Firstly, we trade off the right to do exactly what we want with our homes when we agree to live in a place where we share the cost of cleaners, security, gardening, repairs and maintenance.

We also share walls, ceilings, floors, lifts, front doors, hallways and car parks.  Why anyone with a brain  would think that is the same as owning a house in a quarter-acre block is beyond me.

Also, the NSW government punched some very large holes in the “my home is my castle” myth in the new strata laws, not least in that 75 percent of owners can force the other 25 percent to sell their apartments to developers.

But here’s another thing: if the majority of people want the “right” to do as they please with their units, why oppose a law that would require the support of 75 percent of owners to lock out holiday lets?

To put it another way, even if only 25 percent of owners – rather than the purported majority – are in favour of holiday lets, then by-laws banning them will never pass.

I rest my case.

One thing that never rests is the constant flow of odd and interesting question that come through the Flat Chat Forum. here’s just a sample of this week’s brain teasers:

  • I thought I was getting a car park but it turns out to be a storage space and the strata manager says I can’t park my car in it. That’s HERE.
  • The strata manager says there needs to be a strata committee-only EGM before I can do my renovations. Is that right? That’s HERE.
  • Chairman is using “executive” powers to decide of common property maintenance. Is he allowed to do that? That’s HERE.
  • Fair Trading mediation may be compulsory and free but is it worth the effort? That’s HERE.
  • Drying laundry on the balcony – what exactly does “visible from outside the building” mean? That’s HERE.
  • Is it OK for the committee to use an online survey to decide on changes they want to propose? That’s HERE.

By the time you read this there will be a heap of other questions and answers on the Flat Chat forum. Come on by and join in.

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