Airbnb users left hanging for answers by NSW Government

Airbnb watchers were left hanging on Wednesday when long-anticipated proposals for new legislation on short-term holiday lets were put on hold by the NSW government.

Instead of making their position on short-term letting clear, the government stepped back from a parliamentary report and its recommendations that would have allowed a massive increase in short-term holiday letting in apartment blocks.

AIRBNB’S LATEST FRIENDLY BUILDINGS PROGRAM COULD HELP ANTI-HOLIDAY LETTING CAMPAIGNERS IN NSW

Strata fees could fall in buildings that allow owners to list their properties on Airbnb, under a building program launched by the home sharing platform. Photo: Ryan Stuart

Strata fees could fall in buildings that allow owners to list their properties on Airbnb, under a building program launched by the home sharing platform. Photo: Ryan Stuart

As Airbnb ramps up its efforts to avoid being locked out of Sydney’s apartment buildings, through wall-to-wall advertising on the internet, TV and in print, it has produced its trump card  … and it may play straight into the hands of anti-holiday letting strata campaigners.

Its proposed Friendly Buildings Program allows strata building owners’ corporations to sign up to a scheme that allows access to details of the Airbnb lets in their buildings, caps the number of nights they can be let and takes a cut of the earnings.

FIGURES SHOW AUSTRALIAN AIRBNB HOSTS TO MAKE LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT THEY CHARGE

Apartment-owners fare only slightly better, than house owners in the Airbnb profit stakes, likely to make a little over half the price they tend to charge. Photo: Craig Abraham

Apartment-owners fare only slightly better, than house owners in the Airbnb profit stakes, likely to make a little over half the price they tend to charge. Photo: Craig Abraham

People who rent out their houses on Airbnb stand to make, on average, less than half of what they charge, new figures based on the company’s data and checked by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) show.

Apartment-owners fare only slightly better, likely to make a little over half the price they tend to charge, after paying income and Capital Gains Tax when they finally sell their property.

And if either group doesn’t declare their participation in the sharing economy in a bid to avoid tax then they’re “likely to receive a ‘please explain’ letter from the ATO,” warns Mark Chapman, director of tax communications at H&R Block.

UNIT OWNERS WANT SAY ON SHORT TERM ‘TOURIST’ RENTALS

Local News Plus  |  10 February 2017

APARTMENT owners are calling on the NSW Government to give them a say on whether short-term letting is allowed in individual apartment blocks.

Recent changes to the rules mean that an Owners Corporations cannot stop short-term rentals, even if that's what people who live in a strata community want.
The Our Strata Community, Our Choice campaign is building a coalition of concerned apartment owners to fight for a say in whether their facilities are made available for short-term letting.

Campaign spokesperson Stephen Goddard said it was vitally important that the apartment owners who pay for facilities like lifts and garages, have some say over who uses them.
"With 12,200 new properties forecast to be built in the region in the next few years and many being apartments, residents should be able to control whether they share facilities with tourists," Mr Goddard said. "Apartment owners are responsible for the wear and tear and use of communal assets, and pay for upkeep of the lobby, lifts, garage and other facilities.
"If they are damaged or get worn down by short-term holiday makers, owners pay for it through higher strata fees, and the NSW laws leave strata communities with no say in the matter.

"That's what we are trying to change and we are calling on all apartment owners to speak up, not just in the inner-city but in suburbs throughout NSW where apartment living is on the rise."
The campaign comes as the NSW Government is considering its response to a recent Parliamentary inquiry into the adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in NSW.
"Put simply, our homes are not hotels and the NSW Government and all local representatives must listen to residents and realise that we want, need and deserve a say in the process," Mr Goddard said.

"The first rule of asking someone to share is actually asking someone. Otherwise it's just plain theft.

"All we simply want is a say on short stay."

The NSW Government is expected to respond to the inquiry on April 19.

For more info or to join the campaign, go to OurStrataOurChoice.org.au

DRIVING PRICES SKY HIGH

Harrison Vesey  |  Blacktown Sun

Airbnb is driving up prices in Sydney’s popular tourist spots and the hike will soon hit Blacktown, according to Owners Corporation Network chair Stephen Goddard.

The University of Sydney released a study in January, which looked at Airbnb’s impact across five Sydney council areas: City of Sydney, Waverley, Marrickville, Leichhardt and Parramatta.

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11 WAYS TO MAKE HOUSING MORE AFFORDABLE

By Su-Lin Tan, Larry Schlesinger, Michael Bleby, Matthew Cranston  |  AFR

No one solution will solve the housing affordability problem. Experts favour utilising the tax system over tampering with supply.

Ultimately every available policy will be needed to reign in soaring prices, or politicians will face an increasingly hostile electorate. Our reporters asked industry experts for their solutions to the growing crisis.

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