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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

How many backpackers can fit in a granny flat?

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June McCormack, Byron Bay. 

Because the council has approved a two-storey, five-bed five-bath house plus studio and pool to be built two metres away from our house, depriving us of most of our privacy and winter sun, we may have to reconsider living here.

I have spoken to the owner building the house next door and been told it will be ‘holiday let’ as there is no way he would ever want to live in Byron Bay.

With the noise and constant parties that will surely follow, life here may become intolerable and we will be forced to leave, and do what everyone else is doing and rent to holiday makers.

Why not ? When you can get $45,000 for three weeks rent from ‘schoolies’, by cramming 10-15 bunk beds into your house and charging the going rate which is $1,000 per head per week.

I do not want to be forced out of my granny flat but I am sick of phoning the Police at 2am because I am still awake from some nightclub or all night party.

What’s left of our dwindling ‘community’ is slowly being sold to greedy developers who quickly subdivide the blocks, throw up the biggest house they can get away with, holiday let it and move onto the next one.

So you ask me for what purpose my granny flat will be used. Well at the moment it’s where my husband and I reside.

As for the future? Well who knows?

I wonder how many bunks will fit into a granny flat.

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  1. Thanks to Inside Airbnb’s Murray Cox, we can advise that Airbnb listings in the Byron Shire have increased dramatically in the last 18 months despite all our combined reporting. Now 2,655 listings, up from 1,483 (02 Apri 2016).

    Airbnb’s ‘Whole Dwellings’ are up from 62.4% to 75.9% of total listings. And consider: Airbnb’s commercial landlords will also list bedrooms separately in a property – rather than as a whole dwelling. This just pumps up their returns even more.

    Byron Residents, we continue to work for you. See: https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/stop-short-term-lets-neighbours-not-strangers-2

    See also: https://www.neighboursnotstrangers.com/single-post/2017/10/30/HELLO-BYRON-COUNCIL-WE’D-LIKE-TO-REPORT-MORE-ILLEGAL-ACTIVITY

  2. Latest figures from InsideAirbnb show that there has been an 80% increase in listings in the past 18 months with the major online disruptor Airbnb. In April 2016 there were 1483 listings whilst today there is 2665!

    Holiday letting of whole dwellings has increased from 62.4% to 75.9%. These are only Airbnb and don’t take into account the other disruptors. There must be at least 3000 holiday lets in Byron Shire today. The disruptors are certainly disrupting community as well as aiding and abetting an illegal and prohibited activity in a residential zone.

    June, keep calling Byron Police, but ring back the next day to see whether a warning, noise abatement directive or fine was applied. Then, immediately contact Council compliance or enforcement to report the problem. Get as much evidence as you can including photos and keep a diary. The recalcitrant owner/manager may get the message that they actually have to do something to manage better and to undertake better vetting. In the meantime we wait in hope that Council starts prosecutions.

  3. Will John Gudgeon and other representatives of the Holiday Letting Organisation Byron be community minded and come to the aid of June Mc Cormack? I doubt it. Would be nice to be proved wrong.

    Haven’t heard anything from John Gudgeon or HLO for many years. Perhaps a low profile is suitable for him. Does he ignore media inquiries?

    Does HLO still exist in Byron? Did a Google search for HLO Byron and the statement “this site may have been hacked” appears. Same sign has been there for the past 2 years. Doesn’t inspire any confidence in HLO Byron!

  4. Did a calculation about the increase in Airbnb listings in Byron Shire. There has been a whopping 80% increase over the past 18 months. I am appalled. Will there be any permanent residents left in Byron Bay in the future?

  5. Hopefully once these idiots have trashed the place, and Byron is no longer flavour of the month, the hoards will move on to the next fashionable destination and you may recover your town – the current situation is certainly not sustainable and the inflated prices and appalling traffic, parking and living conditions will convince people not to come back. Just don’t hold your breath….it may take a few more years.


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