The Changing Face of Rental Accommodation

Posted: by Gail Fuller

Real estate in our region is changing very rapidly as our community changes and the ideals and ways of living impact on our environment and the way in which we live in our towns.

You only have to walk down the street and look around to see the different styles of people who now reside in our local community. What this means is that the feelings of our towns are changing, and thus our management of these also changes to reflect this.

As housing prices increase in Byron Bay the demand on rental accommodation has sky rocketed and the general feeling is that the local community is being pushed out of the town they love.

We have outside influences like AirBNB, which was a model for home sharing within existing private homes and experiencing the culture of our community. Now it has evolved into a business where empty houses that were previously long term rentals are being part time holiday let by owners and managers, often from afar with many owners living interstate or overseas and so the property is micromanaged by cleaners.

This impacts on our permanent rental market place with smaller accommodation, 1 bedroom units and studios no longer available for our part-time workers and general employed population. Many locals choose to use AirBNB as a model for additional income.

There is a demand for 1 and 2 bedroom accommodation for people who live alone or with a partner but cannot afford the average rents; Byron Bay being $685 per week at present. This means more people have to house share or move further afield out of our shire to find affordable rents.

It seems that the community sense and care is diminishing, and I wonder why this is happening. Could it be that that our social media and internet domination used for connection with people has led to us being desensitised to our communities’ needs?

This lack of real community consultation and conversation is having an impact on the real day-to-day activity of what happens in our towns. Using the internet behind closed doors to chat and even meet new people does not ever replace sitting in front of someone and looking into their face as you chat.

This is where we are letting our community down, not being more personal in our activity with people and hearing first hand what people have to say on current issues in our towns. Community consultation and collaboration together are important to move forward for economic sustainability, and to ensure that we are all getting a fair go in all matters relating to our environment.

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