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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

It’s all about jobs? Holiday-letting scare tactics highlighted

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Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL) refutes claims by a director of Stayz, Jordan Condo, that jobs could be lost and economic growth impacted if Byron Shire Council acts to ‘penalise families who let out their holiday houses’.
This is a similar scare tactic argument to that used by AirBnB.
VOHL is concerned primarily by the adverse effects of this ‘industry’ on the social fabric of our community and on long suffering residents who thought that a ‘Residential Zone’ was where people lived.
Stayz and AirBnB would have us all believe that holiday houses are a little sideline for hard pressed families. Perhaps this was true 20 or 30 years ago when we had little fisherman’s cottages on the sea shore or when families just let out their houses for two weeks at Christmas.
We are now faced with an ‘industry’ – a term used by the Holiday Let
businesses. This is big business now with consolidation into management groups and the online operators. This is a business where investors have bought properties with the sole purpose of making great returns from holiday letting. Some own multiple properties. Permanent rental accommodation? Forget it!
VOHL has watched as the industry has watered down its attempts at ‘Self Regulation’. This has been proved time and again with many other industries to be ineffectual.
Our Byron Shire Council is not seeking to penalise holiday let owners by introducing registration and regulation. VOHL, in fact, would like their proposed measures to be much stronger.
Council is not trying to close down all holiday letting. Is it not sensible that these holiday lets comply with all reasonable fire and safety conditions as happens with hotel, motels and B & Bs?
Mr Condo talks of job losses. VOHL has many instances of residents unable to perform their jobs through sleep deprivation caused by a neighbouring holiday let.
VOHL knows of many people who have sold up and got out of Byron Shire leaving their jobs behind, no longer able to contribute to our community.
Studies in other parts of the world have proved illegal holiday letting through the likes of AirBnB has a large negative impact on economic activity.
Doug Luke, VOHL

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Jordan Condo should have spoken about how his Stayz bosses through the parent company Expedia pay virtually no tax in Australia and certainly no GST. See the following link where their odious business practices were raised at the recent Senate Inquiry into corporate tax avoidance. This is based on the 15% that they take from each booking of an illegal holiday let

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/rising-prices-and-rising-power-wotif-travel-com-and-expedia-paid-tax/?t=QGeVpibKy&utm_content=22405&utm_campaign=Michael_West_investigates___&utm_source=blast&utm_medium=email

    AirBnB pays no tax in Australia.

  2. On July 12 the Echo reported the contributions of online booking site Stayz and Greens councillor Michael Lyon to the debate about whether and how to regulate holiday letting in the Shire.

    As a rural resident who holiday-lets parts of my home from time to time through Air BnB and Stayz, I suggest we adopt a more constructive approach, avoiding both the “leave it to the market” policy advocated by Stayz and Mr Lyon’s “ban the lot of them” regulatory approach.

    The undoubted success of online holiday letting sites proves that a significant portion of visitors to the Shire prefer home stays over motels. Home stays work for our visitors; they provide useful income to the home owner and revenue to the tax office, and they benefit local businesses. We would be crazy to regulate this form of accommodation out of existence.

    That said, I acknowledge the need for a registration system that allows neighbours affected by noise from a holiday let to register their complaints, to enable appropriate action to be taken on their behalf.

    And I support the introduction of a Room Tax that applies to all types of short-term accommodation, provided that the proceeds are dedicated to improving roads and infrastructure used by visitors to the Shire.

    Let’s avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and find a way to regulate holiday letting to everyone’s advantage.

    • Tim, there has been a short term rental policy developed by Byron Council. Unfortunately,
      this was not accepted by NSW Parliamentary Counsel. This left no other option but to apply Planning Laws and prosecute illegal holiday letting in R2 areas.

      Tim, you state that you holiday let part of your house in a rural environment. If it is one room, you offer breakfast and are present during occupancy, then this is legal due to a change in the LEP last year. If you holiday let the whole house then it is illegal under the current LEP.

  3. Hi Tim – welcome to running your own hospitality business. Are you licensed for this? Experienced? Do you have safety compliance? Inspections? Fire-proofing? You and the 1,800 other properties renting in our region continue to destroy the fabric of our town. Think I am exaggerating? Just take a look at the lines of small families outside rentals that come available because of these 1,800 unlicensed, illegal businesses. Which revenue to the tax office are you talking about – income tax? After your write-off’s and negative gearing, how much of this actually went into local coffers? What a joke.

    If I set up a business in town without proper approvals, taxation and licensing, I would be shut down, fast. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is exactly what is needed – council needs to act quickly and decisively before we lose our town to people like you who justify anything because of a buck. Let’s call these what they are – 1,800 small business operators, running mini-hotels in residential zones, without a license or approval. It’s illegal and council has been totally negligent in their duty to our community – SHUT EM DOWN ALREADY!

    In terms of “let the market decide” – this is a sick mindset. Look at the state of the world when everything is determined simply by “the market”. It has no heart, no soul and no conscience. Take a look around you friend – people are suffering everywhere because of “the market”. That is why we have governance – to hopefully bring a healthy dose of common sense to “the market” which knows no end to the stupidity of greed.

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