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News

Tenants lured with big bucks to sub-let properties on Airbnb

The prospect of six-figure earnings is being used to lure rent-investors into sub-letting multiple residential properties through holiday letting websites like Airbnb – without owning any of the homes or even, possibly, the knowledge of the property owners. “How we make a six-figure income on Airbnb using other people’s properties… and how you can too!” announces a website featuring Nicole and Aaron Byerlee, the property power couple behind BnBProfessional, just one of several companies spruiking rent and sub-let seminars. Online videos show pumped-up participants giving rock-star receptions to the rent and sub-let promoters. The potential profits are very real. Research into Airbnb’s online listings has uncovered several “hosts” each with hundreds of properties under their management, with even greater numbers listed on as many as 50 niche websites. The NSW government is currently considering an “industry-led” register of holiday lets, and many see this as the best way to curb the commercial conversion of residential lets as short term rentals. “Without a reliable, independent registry, there is no way property investors can be sure their homes aren’t being used for holiday lets,’ said Jane Hearn, Deputy Chair of the Owners Corporation Network, the peak group for apartment owners in NSW.
Flat-Chat
Jimmy Thomson

Balcony panel of Melbourne high-rise apartment suddenly shatters

Residents of a Melbourne apartment got a fright when a glass balcony facade suddenly shattered, sending a shower of fragments to the footpath far below. The incident at Epic Apartments in Southbank sparked a council investigation into whether the imported glass is putting lives at risk.  Pieces of glass fell 30 floors to the footpath, posing a safety danger.
7 News
Paul Dowsley

Airbnb moguls spruik how to get around the rules

The prospect of six-figure earnings is being used to lure tenants and investors into subletting properties via websites such as Airbnb – without owning any of the homes or, in some cases, the knowledge of the property owners. The potential profits are very real. Research into Airbnb’s online listings has uncovered several “hosts” each with hundreds of properties under their management, with even greater numbers listed on as many as 50 niche websites. The NSW government is considering an “industry-led” register of holiday lets, and many see this as the best way to curb the commercial conversion of residential lets as short term rentals. “Without a reliable, independent registry, there is no way property investors can be sure their homes aren’t being used for holiday lets," said Jane Hearn, deputy chairman of the Owners Corporation Network, the peak group for apartment owners in NSW.
The Australian Financial Review
Jimmy Thomson

Airbnb sent urgent warning of massive tax crackdown from ATO

Airbnb isn't just a hobby, it's a business. That's the message from the Australian Taxation Office to those who use the popular home-sharing service to lease out their properties. Airbnb sent an email out to its Australian members on Thursday night, warning that their personal details - names, addresses and emails - would be given to the ATO.
7 News
Monique Dirkz

Mascot Towers residents given two 'very bad' options after building failure

Residents of the evacuated Mascot Towers are being forced to consider two options to fund urgent remediation works at the 132-unit complex, but fear they won't be able to afford either. At an annual general meeting later this month, apartment owners will be given the option to proceed with a multimillion-dollar special levy or rescind it in favour of a commercial strata loan to fix the building. One resident, who did not want to be named, said "the options presented to us as owners are like choosing a preferred execution method".
The Sydney Morning Herald
Laura Chung

Company behind Opal Tower fiasco caught up in new building defect row

Residents of yet another Sydney apartment block have been rocked by alarming safety fears — this time allegedly involving their balconies. According to a bombshell report by The New Daily, occupants of the Otto Rosebery complex in the NSW capital’s southeast have recently been issued “urgent” instructions. In a safety letter seen by the publication, residents of the tower’s 298 units have been told not to lean on their balconies, allow children to play on them or to let more than three people on them at a time. The warning comes after an investigation allegedly revealed the block’s balustrades were “structurally defective” and of “inadequate strength”. Earlier this year, Owners Corporation Network spokesman Stephen Goddard told news.com.au he believed those incidents could be just the tip of the iceberg, and warned more building defects were likely to emerge. “This is yet another example of systemic failure in the building industry to deliver the building code in residential strata,” he told news.com.au in the wake of the latest situation. “It is an unavoidable truth we suffer systemic failure, so this comes as no surprise. One was an event, two was extraordinary, three is a trend — and what do you call four? An unavoidable truth.”
News.com
Alexis Carey

Balcony safety fears for more apartments linked to Opal Tower builder

The company that built Sydney’s Opal Tower is embroiled in another safety scare at a different city apartment block. Residents of Otto Rosebery have been warned against leaning on their balconies or allowing more than three people to stand on them, after an investigation found the balustrades were of “inadequate strength”. Parents have been warned not to let children play on balconies. Labor MP for Heffron Ron Hoenig said it was shocking that an apartment block could be built with non-compliant balconies. “How does a building get constructed where there is something wrong with the balustrade and something wrong with the weight you can put on balconies?” Mr Hoenig asked The New Daily. “This is just the tip of the iceberg … the whole building industry, particularly in New South Wales, is in crisis.” Mr Hoenig said the cracks in Australia’s construction industry ran so deep that only a royal commission could begin to fix them.
The New Daily
Euan Black

NSW government drags Icon and Ecove into Opal Tower class action

The NSW government's Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) has dragged Opal Tower builder Icon and developer Ecove into the multi-million-dollar class action for compensation over the failed building. In July, owners launched the lawsuit against SOPA, the owner of the land on which Opal Tower sits, but have had to wait for the case to be heard before the NSW Supreme Court as SOPA launched cross claims against Icon and Ecove. Nine months since the tower was evacuated on Christmas Eve over cracking sounds, not only are owners still in limbo over compensation but many have not yet moved back to their units or been paid promised reimbursements for alternative accommodation.
The Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

SOPA blasted for delaying Opal Tower return for another Christmas

Homeowners in troubled Opal Towers could miss another Christmas in the building because of preventable remediation delays, the new NSW building commissioner has said. Taking aim at the Sydney Olympic Authority, David Chandler accused the original landowners of not intervening with developers in the interests of owners. He also rebuked the builders, developers and the government for delays in getting tenants back in the building. In a strongly-worded letter to SOPA last week, Mr Chandler chastised SOPA for failing to step in over a commercial conflict and unpaid compensation at a ground floor retail shop owned by developer Ecove. The stalemate has led to a halt in remediation works.
The Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

NSW releases draft rules to register certifiers

The NSW government has released more draft regulation to tighten rules for private certifiers, days after engineers said new rules for their registration did not go far enough. The new Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2019 provides administrative detail for its similarly named legislation and will prescribe qualifications, skills and experience necessary for certifier registration. It also will clarify the responsibilities of certifiers with a view to restoring consumer confidence in development, particularly housing. These latest steps are part of sweeping reforms following building failures in Sydney such as Opal Tower and Mascot Towers that are causing buyers to shun apartments.
The Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

NSW releases draft rules to register certifiers

The NSW government has released more draft regulation to tighten rules for private certifiers, days after engineers said new rules for their registration did not go far enough. These latest steps are part of sweeping reforms following building failures in Sydney such as Opal Tower and Mascot Towers that are causing buyers to shun apartments, an effect that may slow the recovery in the housing cycle. Housing industry leaders at last week's The Australian Financial Review Property Summit 2019 aired their concerns about the values of apartments and buyer interest since the building defects came to light.
The Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

Airbnb faces new clampdown in push to regulate short-stay accommodation

At least 20,000 short-term rental properties in WA would be forced to register their details as part of a mandatory scheme designed to level the playing field with other accommodation providers and give peace of mind to consumers. A parliamentary inquiry by the Economics and Industry Standing Committee was set up amid rising tension between owners of licensed short-stay businesses and unlicensed operators who advertise through websites such as Airbnb. Its report tabled in State Parliament today found WA had experienced a rapid growth in short-term rentals, with at least 20,000 listings available in the state. But local governments, which are responsible for regulating short-terms rentals, have struggled to address many of the issues associated with the growth and to enforce compliance because of difficulties with locating those breaking the rules.
ABC News
Alisha O'Flaherty

Icon offers settlement to fend off Opal Tower class action

Opal Tower builder Icon has attempted to "settle" owners quietly in anticipation of possibly being drawn in as a party in the beleaguered tower's upcoming class action hearing. The move was slammed by owners who called it a "sneaky" approach to escape liability in the face of formal legal action and a "slap in the face" because Icon had only offered to refund tenants' accommodation bills rather than pay any compensation.
The Australian Financial Review
Su-Lin Tan

Apartment oversupply and construction defects give lenders pause for thought

Apartment buyers could be forced to stump up higher deposits as nervous lenders consider tightening mortgage restrictions due to Sydney's oversupply of apartments and fears about building defects.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Josh Dye

Cladding bill tabled in Senate as fake “fire resistant” imports found in Victoria

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has reintroduced a bill into the Senate that would ban the importation of all flammable cladding into Australia. The move - opposed by the federal government and the Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA) - comes days after the discovery in Victoria of counterfeit flammable cladding - said to be imported from China - with stickers attached falsely declaring it to be fire resistant. Senator Patrick said that while he recognised flammable cladding could be used safely in signage, “in the context of failed policy across the states, the costs to businesses is worth it.”
Wide Format News
Graham Osborne

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Robert, Darlinghurst

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Ingrid, Neutral Bay

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Greg, Parramatta

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Pat, St Leonards

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Graham, East Balmain

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Pauline, Kings Cross

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Jenny, Killara

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Kate, Coogee

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Peter, Chiswick

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Alan, Maryville

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Pamela, Point Lookout