Airbnb slams new plan for Byron Bay

Byron Shire Council’s new plan to restrict properties to just 90 days of short-term holiday rentals has sparked backlash from Airbnb.

The plan has been put in place to free up more affordable housing in the tourist hotspot, which saw its popularity surge while Covid travel restrictions were in place.

The booking giant urged the council to reconsider its proposal, imploring the plan is ”highly unlikely” to work.

“A 90-night cap will place hosts in Byron Shire on a vastly unequal footing, and ultimately hurt guests, local businesses and communities across the area by reducing choice, availability, and affordability of accommodation,” Michael Crosby, head of public policy for Airbnb in Australia, said.

Data from Airbnb revealed short-term rentals in the Byron Shire hotspot are rented out for an average of 57 days a year, with each property earning on average $21,433 per annum.

Mr Crosby said it was unlikely the move would increase the availability of affordable housing but could have “irreversible consequences for the town‘s economy”.

Statewide legislation currently restricts properties to 180 non-hosted short-term rental days a year.

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon said it is possible the global platform saw the move as “a threat”, but remained adamant the lack of long-term rental properties in the area was the biggest issue at hand.

“It‘s the sort of smoke and mirrors you’d expect (from Airbnb),” he said via Yahoo News Australia.

“There were quite a lot of ironic comments about how it‘s going to reduce affordability and of course they’re just talking about the tourist and visitor accommodation.

“There’s such a dearth of long-term rental opportunities. We just cannot afford to lose more housing stock.

“There‘s just nowhere else to live. It’s not like a city where you can just move into the next suburb. In Byron, there aren’t options like that.”

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