Roundup: Logic takes a holiday in NSW as the world wakes up to “sharing” myth


I was hoping to take a holiday from typing the words ‘short-stay’ or Airbnb but I haven’t lasted 24 hours – it’s an issue that just won’t go away.

While our state government – aided and abetted by City of Sydney – last week announced plans to give away the keys to our little kingdoms to online holiday rental agencies, the rest of the world is finally waking up to the fact that they  have very little to do with “sharing” and more to do with allowing greedy individuals to get round the perfectly reasonable planning regulations that have, for decades, stopped apartment blocks from becoming hotels.

Hang on, you old fogey, I hear you say.  This is the new paradigm for our hip and thriving cities. Get with it or get out of the way!

How the committee got it all wrong on short-stay letting

Well, you don’t get much more hip and happening than New York City which has just in the past week increased fines for breaches of a long-standing ban on illegal short-stay lets, due to the devastating effects on its affordable housing stocks.

In response, Airbnb first offered to remove hosts with multiple properties from its lists, then when that didn’t work, lashed out with legal action against the city.  With a $40 billion industry to protect, it can afford lawyers, and plenty of them, to plead its case.

No such worries in NSW, though, where our politicians can’t wait to allow short-term lets in our homes.

How do you deal with mushrooming numbers of illegal short-stay lets in NSW and Victoria?   Make them legal, of course, then everyone is happy (apart from permanent residents of apartment blocks or tenants who can’t afford to lease in traditional tourist areas because the rents are artificially inflated.)

You appreciate the chronic dearth of political talent in this country when our elected representatives have to make a sophisticated choice that isn’t predetermined by factional divisions or blind self-interest.

Strata living is already a “sharing economy”. Short-stay lets are stealing shared facilities for the benefit of individuals, and one of these days the quarter of a million strata residents in Sydney are going to say ‘enough!’

And that’s enough on short-stay lets from me.

Over on the Forum, the nuts and bolts of strata living are still driving people nuts and forcing some to bolt (not really, but you can see where I was going).

  • Can strata managers pull a sneaky by getting you to sign a long-term contract before the new laws come in?  That’s HERE.
  • What’s the problem with removing an internal wall?  That’s HERE.
  • When is it OK just to post meeting notices on a notice board – and will that change under new laws? That’s HERE.
  • What do you do when you have a contract with a company that’s gone bust – then reappears with a slightly different name and carries on as if nothing had happened?  That’s HERE.
  • An elderly neighbour has been hoarding for years and the whole block stinks because her stuff is rotting.  What can you do?  That’s HERE.

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