Ms Leal is against regulations restricting Airbnb hosts who are subject to strata agreements. (ABC News: Kathleen Calderwood)
For less than $100 a night you can share in Julie Leal’s beachside townhouse on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Her spare room is one of more than 40,000 listings on Airbnb in New South Wales.
“It’s not going to make you rich and you certainly wouldn’t give up your work, it’s just a handy little bonus and we use that to do family things,” she said.
Short-term letting is booming in NSW, but regulation varies from council to council, with bans existing in some.
Yesterday the Government gave qualified support to a parliamentary inquiry’s recommendations to allow short-term letting throughout the state, under the proviso there would be further consultations to help determine how the industry should be regulated.
Many hosts like Ms Leal who are renting properties subject to strata agreements are keen to find how the regulations will impact them.
Strata bodies should have right to ban Airbnb, representatives say
Ms Leal said her neighbours were fine with her Airbnb arrangement. (ABC News: Kathleen Calderwood)
Stephen Goddard from the Owners Corporation Network (OCN) said apartments could not be treated like standalone homes, and rights for hosts renting there should be more restrictive.
“When you buy an apartment and move into a building you move into a cooperative environment that has a duty of care with co-owners,” he said.
“There are as many apartment owners who would like to participate in short-term letting as there are those who would not.
“The core OCN concern is for owners in general meeting to have the democratic right to decide if their building will be used for short-term letting.”
In the meantime, owners’ corporations are left to police problem apartments rented on services such as Airbnb unassisted.
Housing Minister Anthony Roberts said further consultations would shed more light on how a new regulatory scheme would impact strata laws.
“This is not about consultation for consultation’s sake — this is about engaging the people of NSW in developing new legislation, new regulation for them,” he said.
“I make no apologies for listening to the people of New South Wales in the development of policy.”
Some hosts in favour of continuing status quo
Ms Leal is in favour of continuing to allow residents of strata complexes to continue policing the system themselves.
“One neighbour approached me and said ‘I understand you’re doing Airbnb’ and I said ‘yes I do from time to time’ and he said ‘oh well, I suppose that’s OK’,” she said.
“If they were impeding the neighbours or making any problems I would cease.
“If you’re an adult you should be able to choose who comes to your home, who stays there and if it’s not suitable or if it is upsetting other people you also have the right to tell them to leave.”
Graham Butt is an executive committee member at his apartment block in East Balmain in Sydney, and he disagrees.
He wants the Government to introduce more concrete measures to make it easier for residents who do not want Airbnb in their apartment complexes to have them removed.
“You don’t know who is coming through … [it] doesn’t go through our strata manager and it’s just a security problem,” he said.
“We are aware that there’ve been times where Airbnb people have come in and the doors have been unlocked, [with] entry at all times of the night and the early mornings,” Mr Butt said.
Mr Butt said he hoped the Government would deliver consistent regulations across the board.