Each in his own corner
Budget travellers want their holiday accommodation on the cheap. Enterprising home owners seek to earn a quick buck through short term leases. Hoteliers cry foul because they can't compete on an equal footing. The authority has yet to decide how far they want to go in curtailing this illegal subletting.
In the first six months of this year, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has taken action on 44 cases of unauthorised short-term subletting in private residential homes, according to Business Times.
Ministry of National Development (MND) reported that this was an increase from 36 cases in 2014 and 23 cases in 2015.
Enforcement actions against errant home owners:
"Once URA confirms a case of unauthorised short-term subletting, it sends an enforcement notice to the offender requiring the unauthorised use to cease. In the vast majority of cases, offenders have complied with URA's notices and there has been no need to undertake further action against them," MND said.
Given the potential impact and disamenity of such rentals on neighbouring residents, careful and due consideration must be given to its implication, MND said, even as its review on short-term stays in these premises is still ongoing.
No conclusion has been reached on the hotly debated topic of the home-sharing. Current URA guidelines require private residential properties to be rented out for no less than six months. Private home offenders can be fined up to S$200,000 and jailed for up to a year.
More than a year after public consultations in early 2015, URA had said that it needs more time to consider the issue.
Housing & Development Board (HDB) has disclosed it has no plan to review the short-term stay rules for HDB flats.
Meanwhile local residential listings for short-term stay run rampant on Airbnb and HomeAway. Some accommodation service providers who rent flats from landlords, furnish the units and sublet them with limited services, have reportedly also rent out units with occupation periods lesser than six months.
It is understandable that hoteliers are unhappy because such rentals are not subject to similar business taxes and safety regulations. As a result, commercially run hotels with its higher cost of operations are unable to compete on price with private room rentals.