4 APRIL 2020

It seems oddly appropriate, if not ironic, that a business that effectively grew virally on the internet should have suffered more than most because of COVID-19.

Those who watched with dismay while short-term holiday lets moved into apartment blocks where they weren’t welcome or, in some cases, legally permitted, may have witnessed the current collapse of the holiday-letting industry with a certain grim satisfaction.

These days the blows keep coming for Airbnb, globally and locally, its hosts and their ilk, as well as the industry that has grown up to support them, to the point where the government has been asked to provide financial relief. First there was the shutdown of international tourism, then the closing of state borders. Finally, in what could be the coup de grace to holiday lets that are unwanted in residential apartment blocks, as of next week owners’ corporations (body corporates) across NSW will be able to pass by-laws banning short-term letting in their buildings.

And the Owners Corporation Network (OCN), the peak body for apartment owners in NSW, is offering a $200 lawyer-drafted, off-the-peg, short-term letting (STHL) by-law for owners’ corporations to adopt.