Apartment owners in Sydney’s most exclusive residences prepare to battle Airbnb
Daily Telegraph
Heather McNab
20 December 2016

Steven Goddard and Maestri tower resident Michael Heaney.

A supergroup of apartment owners in some of Sydney’s most exclusive towers have declared war on Airbnb.

More than 5000 property owners in 60 buildings in Airbnb hot spots — with sweeping views of the city skyline — are preparing to lobby the State Government to overturn laws which prevent them from banning short-team leases.

Strata bodies from apartment buildings around Elizabeth Bay, Darlinghurst, Potts Point and the CBD have pledged to support a campaign by strata advocacy group Owners Corporation Network (OCN) to change legislation which residents say could allow their home life to be transformed into something akin to schoolies week.

Under the Strata Schemes Management Act, owner corporations are unable to pass restrictions on short-term leasing of apartments to groups such as Airbnb.

Strata solicitor Steven Goddard, the past chairman of the OCN, said legislation left residents powerless to stop their buildings from turning into party houses.

“(It’s the) conversion of your living space into a hotel for transient people who have no regard for the living space,” he said. “The reality is (short-term renters) ruin the amenity of the building and turn the common space into the Gold Coast on Schoolies week.”

The leasing out of apartments within the city and inner suburbs also exacerbates Sydney’s rental crisis, Mr Goddard said, pushing residents who are unable to pay the huge sums brought in by short-term leasing out of the market.

“(The prices) move outside the achievable rent that people can pay, it becomes unaffordable housing and that will change the nature and character of the local street,” he said.

Harbourside apartments are popular on the short term rental stay sites, such as Airbnb.

“It will not be a neighbourhood where people live — it’ll be where they play.”

The supergroup includes the Maestri and Observatory towers on Kent St, the Horizon in Darlinghurst, the Gazebo in Elizabeth Bay, and more.

Airbnb Australia spokesman Dylan Smith said “there was no place for party houses on our platform”.

“Airbnb supports the right for people to share their home, without the need for wading through red tape or over-the-top permissions,” he said.

A Fair Trading NSW spokesman said restrictions on short-term letting was being considered.

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