PARLIAMENTARY ENQUIRY: Member of the NSW Upper House Jan Barham
PARLIAMENTARY ENQUIRY: Member of the NSW Upper House Jan Barham DAVID NIELSEN

Barham blasts holiday lets

A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into the adequacy of regulation of short-term holiday letting in NSW has attracted submissions that linked the boom of online holiday rental agencies such as Airbnb to Byron Bay’s housing shortage.

According to a submission made by Greens NSW MP Jan Barham, unregulated and disingenuous landlords on Airbnb and Stayz were competing unfairly with approved tourism providers, while contributing to anti-social behaviour and a decline in community participation.

“I think some kind of registration process is needed,” Ms Barham said.

When NSW parliament returns on February 16, submissions will be reviewed.

The inquiry is investigating how short-term holiday letting is currently managed in NSW and comparing it with what happens in other states and overseas.

The former Byron Bay mayor said genuine Byron Bay residents looking to list their spare room online should not be penalised to the advantage of out-of-town black market operators who contribute no development contributions or rates.

“Airbnb originally promoted itself as an option for the renting out of a spare room and an opportunity for visitors to stay with locals and share an experience that ... is enhanced by that local knowledge and connection,” Ms Barham said.

“However, it has now been determined that approximately 60% of AirBnb properties are entire homes.

“The loss of payment to council for a commercial use means that the community is subsidising the commercialisation of residential areas without any payment to council.”

Byron Shire Council will also be reviewing submissions to amend the Byron Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014 provisions relating to Short Term Rental Accommodation. Submissions closed on December 5.

The council planning proposal aims to introduce a special provision to define and then require development consent for short-term rental accommodation. It also establishes the circumstances in which short-term rental accommodation would be exempt development.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said proposed amendments included a “three strikes and you’re out” policy on operators that attracted anti-social behaviour.


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