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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

Enforcement, not ‘bed tax’ the solution to housing crisis

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Trish Burt, Convenor, Neighbours Not Strangers.

On the subject of tourist/visitor letting, Byron Shire Cr Paul Spooner believes ‘we need…to convince the state government to change’. He misses the point completely. It’s local councils who must be mandated to enforce our current zoning legislation.

NSW has ‘world’s best’ legislation plus case law. It cannot be emphasised enough: residential housing is for the housing of residents and mixing short-term tourist/visitor letting with permanent residents is fundamentally incompatible, with the impacts on neighbours severe.

A ‘bed tax’ assumes that the council will receive income but leaves landlords breaching Australian building codes, NSW Fire and Rescue criteria, the National Disability Discrimination Act plus zoning legislation, etc.

Short-term letting should be banned in all strata properties where common property is paid for collectively.

Those in a freestanding, single-family dwelling have the option of a B&B license. Byron has 106 B&B operators – why aren’t their interests put before those involved in unregulated Airbnb’s? Is the accommodation industry to be deregulated, or just Airbnb?

More than 2,765 Byron homes are available to transients from every country, except Syria, Iran and North Korea. Byron residents can only access these homes at hugely inflated prices. Why should the monetary drive of short-term letting landlords take priority over the needs of Byron residents?

‘Home-sharing’ is sharing a home with those in need of housing. Safe, secure, affordable shelter is after all a basic human right.

Councillors: please act in the interests of Byron residents. If you can’t, you shouldn’t be drawing a wage from Byron ratepayers.

Our Petition to Parliament: https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/stop-short-term-lets-neighbours-not-strangers-2


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  1. Completely agree. Holiday letting is illegal and Byron Council does not apply NSW Planning legislation. This is because previous councillors, the Gang of Five, plus Paul Spooner voted to have a moratorium on applying the law against the illegal holiday lets. This happened in early 2013. Does this make Council complicit in not applying the law?

    Who will collect this bed tax? So many holiday let owners appear not to be paying income tax at the moment. What chance would the State Government have.

    Some National Party State MP’s have been exposed in the media for illegally holiday letting their Sydney residences when unoccupied and claiming the accommodation allowance as well. How can they be expected to be unbiased? Many have no faith in this Coalition Government to delver legislation that will protect the rights of permanent residents.

  2. Completely agree and well put.

    BSC is sitting on their hands and has been for close to two decades that I have been living here.

    However, Simon promised (I mean council resolved) at their meeting in early April to start doing something from July 2017 if there is no solution offered by the state – ie the moratorium finishes NOW.


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