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Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

AIrbnb attempting to defend illegal activity

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It was recently reported that Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas claims that mayor Simon Richardson is ‘demonising his Shire’s residents turning to home sharing to make a little extra income’.

Harsh words from a representative of a multinational company that pays no corporate tax in Australia.

Mayor Richardson is accurately portraying the negative effect of Airbnb on our community. Similar detrimental impacts have been documented in other countries.

Six months ago there were 2,650 Airbnb listings representing 17 per cent of the Byron Shire’s housing stock.

The reality is that 70 per cent of these listings represent whole homes, many owned by absentee owners.

Brent Thomas should do some research. Two years ago Byron Council changed the LEP to allow for one bedroom in a home to be holiday let as long as the owner is present. This allows for Airbnb’s ‘Mums and Dads’ to undertake true home sharing.

Short-term holiday letting of whole homes in residential zones in Byron Shire is development without consent, therefore an illegal and prohibited activity under the Byron LEP.

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  1. Inside Airbnb, on 21 October 2017, had 2665 listings for Byron Shire. Whole houses and apartments represented 75.9% of this figure Many holiday let owners will not advertise on Airbnb. Therefore, the real figure is more likely to be more than 3000 holiday lets in Byron Shire. Expect that this figure has increased. No wonder there is a rental crisis in Byron Shire. The latest Anglicare rental snapshot confirmed that Airbnb was responsible for this problem.

    The sooner Byron Council prosecutes in the Land and Environment Court, the better off will be the Shire’s permanent residents.


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