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Alex is committed to government transparency and accountability; protecting the natural and urban environments, open space and Sydney’s unique heritage; retaining inner city social and affordable housing; the humane treatment of animals; improving transport options; and fairness and equality for the LGBTI communities.

Call for State Government to stop blame game and take action on illegal overcrowding

Independent Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, has called on the State Government to stop blaming councils for a problem and work with the City of Sydney and other councils to establish powers to stop illegal overcrowding in the city.

Mr Greenwich said, “Illegal overcrowded accommodation is dangerous, causes amenity problems for neighbours, increases strata costs and is bad for Sydney’s global reputation when overseas students are targeted.”

While councils can take action based on planning, building and fire safety breaches, they need to get permission to enter a premise and if they are denied access they need to get a search warrant, which gives dodgy accommodation operators time to evict tenants and hide evidence.

“The State Government should work with the City of Sydney to establish stronger powers that allow councils to inspect premises where there is strong evidence of dangerous overcrowding to collect conclusive evidence, while ensuring there are safeguards to protect privacy and stop vexatious complaints.

“I’ve already asked the government to include in its long awaited strata reforms limits on the number of adults to two per bedroom in apartments so that owners corporations can take action in the tribunal. The City of Sydney introduced this as a condition of consent in 2006 but this does not apply to buildings built before then or built outside of the local government area.”

There is a wider crisis in affordable housing that helps cause these illegal and unsafe operations. It is incredibly expensive to buy or rent in the inner city, where people need to live for jobs and services.

The NSW Government has taken the windfall stamp duty from increasing home prices at the same time as reducing low cost housing provisions in developments like Barangaroo and selling low cost homes at Millers Point.

The NSW Government should not be selling off our low cost inner city housing. I’ve asked the government to use Waratah Bonds funds to provide more low cost housing and support community housing providers open up extra low cost homes.

The government should strengthen strata laws to prevent expensive short-term rentals from driving prices up and availability down, and act to stamp out overcrowding.

The NSW Government also needs to push the federal government to change the tax and policy settings to encourage low cost housing.”

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  • commented 2015-06-19 11:27:11 +1000 · Flag
    Thank you Alex. Having lived in a building which has been overrun by illegal short-term letting operators, it is so good to read your comments. Everyone doing this says: “It’s just my apartment so what’s the issue?” Multiply this by goodness knows how many others and everyone will soon understand ‘the issue’. Airbnb currently has 9,700 listings in Sydney alone, and this is just one internet platform. The NSW State Government needs to get in line with what New York State is doing…no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Illegal Hotels might return a quick buck to some, but it costs other Owners and our Society enormously. The City of Sydney has just stamped down on what were at times 58 apartments in our building let to holiday makers. That’s 58 apartments which are now being offered to tenants. NSW State Politicians are involved in this Illegal activity and those in Macquarie Street know it. Might this be why the State Government is dragging its heels on the issue? Thank you sincerely for your efforts on this issue.