We are all too familiar with short term rental platforms such as Airbnb. We are big fans of the site too, for providing accommodation and lodging to visitors such as backpackers for a short time period.
While the idea has been wildly successful and well-received by netizens, it is illegal for Singapore home owners to sublet their houses to tourists. According to the Housing Development Board (HDB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) regulations, when a home (HDB or private) is leased out, it must be for at least six months.
Various views on the matter have been debated, even within the parliament, with some asking the URA to approve short term rental stays so that home owners can supplement their household income by renting out their spare rooms. The ones who are against the ruling cite noise concerns, loss of privacy and misuse of common facilities as reasons short term rental should be kept illegal.
HDB dweller Melissa Chan shared with Vulcan Post in an earlier interview: “I would be fine with it, as long as my neighbour has told me about this plan to invite tourists over. I might even help to bring them around if needed!”
“[However,] I think the elderly would feel that it’s unsafe to do so. And those with grandkids especially. I do not blame them though, since they’re likely to be more vulnerable. I understand how it might be risky, but I feel with proper ‘evaluation’ of the guests by the owners of the flats, it would be okay.”
Public Consultation By URA
In a blogpost yesterday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote that, “some things are harder to share than others”.
“Airbnb is an online community platform which allows home-sharing, renting out spare rooms to say, tourists for a few days. But it has become hotly debated in many cities. New York City has banned it while Amsterdam and San Francisco allow it but are considering tighter regulations. While it earns extra income for the home owners, their neighbours would not like to see their quiet neighbourhood becoming a hotel district. I myself think it’s not a good idea. We certainly do not allow such arrangements in HDB towns.”
Because many are not aware that subletting their HDB out is an illegal act, HDB seized 202 flats between January 2012 to December 2014 — many of which were caused by major lease infringements due to unauthorised subletting of flats. Media reports in September 2014 said that HDB investigated 184 cases of short-term HDB rentals in 2013, compared to 106 cases from 2012.
To help the government get a better picture on the matter from Singaporeans, the URA is therefore conducting a public consultation on short term stays in Singapore.
You can submit your feedback on the subject to URA online, via their URA portal from now until the 23rd of February.
Our take? Definitely yes to short term rentals!