Roundup: An answer for both the Opal and Airbnb

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Hold your applause, folks, but I think I’ve come up with a solution to both the Opal Tower crisis and the blight of Airbnb on our apartment blocks.

See, maybe short-term holiday letting is the answer to the Opal crisis, and perhaps Opal is the solution to STHL that we’ve been looking for. Declare the Opal a short-term-letting “special zone” where there are few rules, and no consequences for breaking any of them, and watch all the holiday lets being drawn from our homes into that brand new party magnet. Result!

Seriously, though, this is no laughing matter, especially if you are one of the hundreds of investors and home owners who have tied up your cash and borrowed money to buy into the most famous ‘failed’ building in Australia.

Having lived through a losing battle to get a developer to pay for millions of dollars of defects in a new building myself, I can understand how anxious they must be.

Because, cut through all the real estate spin and political flannel,  and property values in the Opal Tower are toast, at least for the foreseeable future. The unit owners know it, the tenants know it, the government knows it and the whole of NSW and beyond knows it (with the exception, it seems, of the poor blighters who are still trying to sell units there).

So how are investors going to cover their mortgages? Why would renters even consider paying the full fare on such a blighted block?  There may be nothing wrong with the block when it’s fixed, but perception is everything, especially in real estate. And property prices are falling everywhere anyway.

So how do investors cover their loans if tenants are looking for rock-bottom rents and potential purchasers are a cloud of dust on a distant horizon you can’t even see from the 35th floor?

Maybe the answer is short-term tenants who won’t have heard of the building or its problems and won’t care about the cracks in the walls (because they’re only there for the weekend).

They’ll love the views, the pool and the gym (please don’t drop those weights!) and appreciate the sporting facilities nearby … at least those that aren’t about to be turned into a massive building site. Not only that, they will believe the ads that say Homebush is close to Sydney city centre!

Who are these innocents abroad, you ask. Overseas short-term holiday letting guests, obviously – the kind that think an ad with a picture of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge could not possibly be for a slum in Randwick, and that the picture must be the view from its lounge.

And they don’t know exactly where they’re going to be staying until they have signed up to stay there.

It’s OK, I’m not serious and I want to apologise to the residents of the Opal if anyone thinks any of this is a good idea. But, that said, there will be a few landlords in the building checking the by-laws to see if Airbnb lets are allowed, and wondering how they can get away with it if they aren’t. And who could blame them?

Getting back to apartments that are neither falling down nor full of boozed-up backpackers here for the tennis, old questions never die on the Flat Chat Forum … they only get asked differently.

A query about car parking spaces being used as extra votes, from back in 2017, has resurfaced with a Flatchatter unable to believe that a parking space lot vote can be used to cancel out a residential lot vote.

Well, it can … and it can’t.  In a show of hands, a parking spot barely big enough to contain a Fiat Bambino carries the same clout as three-bedroom penthouse.  And what can you do to get round this imbalance of power?  That’s HERE.

Do apartment blocks need fire exit maps like they have in hotels, asks one Flatchatter. It’s a hot topic, HERE.

The noise from a recently installed lift is driving the owner on the top floor nuts, but the committee says no one else can hear it so it’s not their problem.  Can they do that?  And if not, what can you do about it? That’s HERE.

Should you be wary of a strata management firm that’s part of a franchise? It depends on the franchise … and the strata manager. That’s HERE.

Judging by the number of visitors to the website, Flat Chat is already up and running for 2019. Why not register and sign up for the weekly newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.

2 Replies to “Roundup: An answer for both the Opal and Airbnb”

  1. Avatar JPP says:

    Hi Jimmy,

    You may already be aware, but all links to topics within the body of text give error 404.

    Regards,

    Phil.

  2. Jimmy-T Jimmy-T says:

    Yes, we’re looking at it now. Thanks for the heads-up

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