Should authorities be more lenient on AirBnB in Singapore?

Two men were charged yesterday over provision of AirBnB services. In case you’re not familiar, AirBnB allows a property owner to provide short-term rentals to whoever cares to rent. Most of the time, these are budget travellers whom do not want the frills of hotels.

It is not AirBnB that is being banned. It is the provision of short-term rentals that is disallowed and this has been in place for a very long time.

Although it is not certain why the law is in place, many feel that the Government upholds the ban of short-term rentals because Singaporeans themselves do not want their properties to be treated like public spaces.

“(This is) especially in private residences which owners pay millions for exclusivity, they don’t want their condos to become hotels where strangers come in and out and use their facilities”, said Calvin Cheng in a Facebook post.

And he is correct. In a response to Parliament, Lawerence Wong said that over the past year, URA has already seen a 60 per cent rise in complaints from home owners about breaches of the short-term renting rule in their residential properties. The complaints related to public nuisance or even safety concerns for their families.

However, there are calls for the Government to be lenient on these rules. And the URA had responded. The minimum term of rentals for private homes had been reduced from six months to three.  Some ideas on how to do this include:

  • Allowing the individual management committees of private properties to vote and decide
  • Setting up a regulatory body that could also help manage disputes with normal property rentals
  • Providing licenses to AirBnB participants, ensuring that they meet safety and security standards
  • Restrict short-term rentals to certain property types and areas

 

There are people who feel that these short-term rentals can help with finances, especially in a market when property rentals are low and interest rates are rising. It will be a useful source of income for owners whom are sitting on a goldmine but are unable to monetize it.

About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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