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Byron Shire
November 30, 2022

Byron Deserves Better – holiday letting and the 90-day cap

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e in Byron Shire… we need to consider everyone, not just an invested few. The Byron Deserves Better lobby continues their weekly full-page rave in the Byron Shire Echo (26.10.22), claiming to be part of a community that ‘relies on the tourism industry to put food on the table for our families’… almost as if they are crying poor!

Poor dears, maybe we’ll see them arrive in their BMWs at the soup kitchen next week. In their blurb, there is little or no mention of the need for permanent rentals except for reiterating the need for social housing… along with saying they are supported by ‘thousands of people’!? Funny thing though – I checked today (26.10.22) they only seem to have 13 followers on their Facebook page!

Yes, sure we need social housing; however, as we all know, this isn’t going to happen overnight. Over the past few years, the frenzy to buy and convert properties to Airbnb has resulted in numerous people being unable to find or afford the inflated rents that this has resulted in. We now have so many more out-of-town investors buying up properties and using them for holiday letting… and many of them have more than a few properties, thank you very much!

Of course, we need tourism and for visitors to have places to stay. However, equally important is the essential need for more permanent rentals. So many property owners are jumping on the Airbnb bandwagon, rather than considering the negative social impact this is having on this community’s desperate need for long-term accommodation.

There never used to be an issue here. This kind of greed appears to be rampant now, and it is fracturing the very resonance and face of what Byron Shire once was. As I have said before, I used to be a property manager in Byron Bay. Many owners, who rented out their homes for reasonable rents, found their tenants looked after their homes well, while providing the owners with a steady and reasonable income. Byron Council’s 90-day cap on un-hosted holiday lets seems more than fair and is in proportion with the needs of the general community. The best outcome is that some of these owners will shift to permanent letting. If these owners keep their properties empty for nine months of the year and holiday let at massive rates just for 90 days, then it shows a blatant disregard for that large section of the community who don’t own property. Let’s have some compassion for people here; it’s not all about the $$$.

The Byron Deserves Better ad in The Echo (26.10) lets the cat out of the bag in their final paragraph, concluding their pitch by saying it will negatively impact the entire business community. Yes, that’s right… the BUSINESS community! What about the rest of us? To put it quite simply, this lobby wants to have their cake and eat it too! I rest my case.

PS: a big thankyou to well over 1,000 people who signed my petition Byron Deserves Balance.

Liz Friend, Ocean Shores

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