Short-stay report expects us to share the pain – and pay the price


The report by the NSW parliamentary inquiry into holiday letting represents a huge win for the misnamed “sharing economy” but a devastating blow to long-term apartment residents.

Duchessed by the slickly efficient lobbyists for online agencies like Airbnb and Stayz, who flew senior executives in from overseas to meet the committee, our MPs couldn’t wait to open up our homes to their customers.

Committee members bought the lie at the heart of the short-stay industry sales pitch. This is not about renting a room to visitors for a little pin money – the vast majority of rentals are entire homes.

Also, more than a third of Airbnb “hosts” have more than one property. In short, it’s a multi-billion-dollar business.

How the report got it completely wrong on short-stay lets

We shouldn’t be surprised. Few if any of the MPs on the committee live in apartments and for years some of their parliamentary colleagues have been knowingly subverting planning laws, to line their own pockets.

There is still a way to go before this becomes law but one of the more worrying proposals is that local councils should set the rules for short stay lets.

So City of Sydney, who blithely sold us down the river with a submission that’s routinely cited as justification for hanging long-term strata residents out to dry,  will decide how many days a year apartments can be let to holidaymakers.

Part of their thinking, if you can call it that, was that there hadn’t been many complaints. Maybe that’s because buildings that wanted to limit short-stay lets were already doing so.

So, thanks, Sydney, for helping to take away our right to choose not to live in a hotel.

It’s all very well to say you can take miscreants to the Tribunal (NCAT), but noisy parties and boisterous families in holiday mode are only the more obvious intrusions.

How do you even find out who damaged the lift, jammed the garbage chute and smashed a wine glass in the swimming pool, requiring it to be drained?

Expecting building and strata managers to police the unwelcome guests adds financial insult to social injury. The free ride offered to the “sharing without caring” sector means you and I will foot the bill while selfish investors pocket the cash.

Strata is already a form of sharing economy.  But the sharing stops when our homes are opened to opportunists in search of a fast buck.

There’s a lot more about this on flat-chat.com.au.

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