You are here

Airbnb-style short-term home sharing still illegal, after consultation: URA

THERE will be no change to current rules for short-term stays in private homes, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Wednesday.

That means that the use of private properties for fewer than three consecutive months - which has been popularised by the likes of home-sharing platforms Airbnb around the world - will remain illegal in Singapore.

This came after several consultations starting from 2015 on such short-term accommodation, including a draft regulatory framework proposed last April that could allow owners at strata-titled developments to do so if they got 80 per cent consent from the development to do so, and for owners to register their properties with the URA, among other requirements.

Following that, several home-sharing platforms told the URA they thought the proposed rules were too overly restrictive, and called for a lighter-touch approach. Management corporations of condominiums were concerned about their heavier responsibilities in light of the proposed framework.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

However, a majority of the more than 1,000 private homeowners surveyed in the second half of last year supported the proposed rules set out.

URA said in a statement on Wednesday: "Given this impasse, URA will not proceed with the proposed regulations at this stage. Instead, it will continue to monitor the situation as well as broader developments on the short-term accomodation scene. URA remains open to reviewing the position in the future, if and when platform operators demonstrate they are prepared to adhere to the regulatory framework."

URA will also continue to enforce the current rules.

Under the Planning Act, it is an offence to convert the use of a property for short-term accommodation without URA’s approval. Offenders may be fined up to S$200,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 12 months.

Mich Goh, Airbnb's head of public policy for South-east Asia, said: "While today’s announcement is disappointing, we remain committed to working with the government towards a pathway forward for our community of hosts in Singapore and the hundreds of millions of guests who use Airbnb when they travel.

"We have repeatedly provided our support to local authorities to help develop new rules and expressed our deep commitment to work with our community to ensure these regulations work and short-term rental activity is conducted responsibly and sustainably."