Local councils and the NSW Government are coming under pressure from accommodation industry lobby groups to crack down on the “booming market for illegal accommodation in Sydney” fuelled by the “exponential growth of websites such as Airbnb for booking short-term accommodation in private apartments and houses”.
The Backpacker Operators Association claims many of the rooms and properties listed on these sites “violates building regulations and laws that governments and councils have been slow to crack down on.
BOA spokesman Robert Henke said Airbnb is now selling more than 6000 properties in Sydney, Australia’s most popular tourism destination, and compared the situation to New York, where the state government has a legal attack on Airbnb.
But in NSW lawmakers have failed to respond.
“Governments and councils are in a state of inertia over the issue,” he said.
“Some websites, operating in the realm of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ have enabled the black market to flourish.
“The explosion of unregulated rooms and properties available via such websites compromises travellers’ safety, jeopardises building security, erodes housing affordability and estroys neighbours’ sense of community.
“Overall these websites are tarnishing tourism’s reputation.”
BOA has expressed its concerns in writing to the NSW Government and councils in popular tourism areas.
It has yet to receive a response.