Residents say holiday letting such as Airbnb is out of control.
Residents say holiday letting such as Airbnb is out of control. Contributed

'Living hell': Airbnb style holiday letting a 'cancer'

A BYRON Bay resident has described out of control holiday letting in the town as a "cancer" that is destroying her community.

Sonya Wright, 72, spoke following the passage of NSW legislation to regulate short-term holiday letting which has been slammed as the "weakest" in the world by a resident's group.

Ms Wright has been living next door to an AirBnB property for two years and has counted more than 200 visits by guests.

"We don't have neighbours anymore, we have strangers, coming and going," she said.

"They come up the driveway open the door, and my room is directly above it, and they wake me up."

She now has a sign on her window that says "living hell next to an Airbnb".

NSW Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean has trumpeted the new legislation as "tougher but fairer" , which acknowledged the "huge financial contribution online booking platforms make to the NSW economy" but took a "zero-tolerance approach" to rowdy guests.

"Under our 'two strikes and you're out' policy, hosts or guests who commit two serious breaches of the code within two years will be banned for five years, and be listed on an exclusion register," Mr Kean said.

New state-wide planning rules will also come into force next year, detailing how many days a year properties can be let.

But Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh has slammed the government for rejecting "sensible reforms" to preserve local decision making around holiday letting within local government.

Meanwhile, Victoria McEwen, of Victoria's Byron Bay has warned there is "talk of a class action" against the government.

Regulated accommodation suppliers such as Ms McEwen's pay thousands of dollars in DA fees, and ongoing compliance costs to the council.

"I know people who are going to hand their DAs back in and want compensation... and just become Airbnbs," she said.

"This is really disappointing, the government didn't consult with the operators. I personally wrote to over 160 MPs and we got very little support."

She said she had heard vague promise about a review in 12 months but said the "horse has bolted".

"I think the government will realise they have made a massive mistake.

"Cities all over the world are shutting down illegal development. We are doing the opposite."



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