Poor hosts scared by ‘hurtful’ comments, says Airbnb


Well, I finaly got round to writing my response to the Short Term Holiday Letting Positions paper.

However, my intended short and pithy one-pager turned out to be six pages and 2500 words long. If you really want to read it, you will find it here.

Meanwhile, if Airbnb are as good as their word, they will be organising letter-writing and submission campaigns to give the government the impression that just about everybody in NSW wants open slather on holiday lets in apartments.

How do we know?  When I asked them a few weeks ago one of their highly-paid hacks said this: “Our hosts are scared by unfair and hurtful calls to rob them their of their right to respectfully share their homes, whether they’re houses or apartments.

“Our hosts rely on Airbnb as their economic lifeline, and want to protect their rights and have their voices heard,” he said. “The Government has asked for public input, and Airbnb is determined to make sure our hosts’ interests and voices are heard loud and clear by their elected officials.”

Excuse me?  What “right to share their homes”? Don’t you mean “demand to make more money than they would from residential rents”, a slice of which goes back the Airbnb?

But, wow, all these poor, frightened Airbnb hosts!  How have they survived the winter when all the tourists have gone? Were they the same people camping in Martin Place?

But seriously, the Astroturf Wars are ON – with fake grassroots campaigns just part of it.  And isn’t it funny how the words “sharing” and “disruptive” have been corrupted to mean something different from what they used to?

When ‘sharing’ means renting a whole unit to holiday-makers, the only thing being shared is your common property.

And as for disruptive – how long will it be before your kid gets a gold star for being disruptive in class?

But I digress.  I know we don’t all agree on every aspect of this but it’s really important that everybody in strata gets their views across, if only to add some real strata resident voices to counter the choreographed campaign on the other side.

There are three ways you can do this.

  1. Go to the Planning NSW STHL website and click on the survey button and that will take you to an online survey. Couldn’t be simpler!
  2. Go to the Planning NSW STHL website and click on the Submissions button, which will give you a chance to give more detailed answers.
  3. Spend a few hours preparing an overlong rant and email it to STHL@planning.nsw.gov.au

You have until October 31 to state your case but don’t leave it too late and don’t leave it to others.

Now for those of you who are interested, these were the proposals I included with my submission

Top Line Proposal (applicable only to strata apartments)

  1. Allow owners and tenants to rent one bedroom in their apartment (of two or more bedrooms) as short-term lets, provided the host is in residence and occupancy limits are not exceeded.
  2. Allow a “Family, friends and pets” exclusion permitting flat-sitting while the owners or tenants are on holiday for a maximum of four weeks per year (except where a longer term is established in a by-law) .
  3. Permit an initial simple-majority vote by all owners to decide if they want to abide by their residential only zoning or allow short-term letting – and under what terms.
  4. Permit subsequent changes to that by-law only to be made by special resolution, as with all other by-laws.
  5. Establish strong penalties for owners and tenants who breach the established terms set down for short-term letting.

What do you reckon?


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