Airbnb a no-go in Singapore ? URA out with heavy penalty

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With the new regulations against home-sharing effected on 15 May 2017, privates home can only rent out, sublet or shares if the minimum stay is more than 3 months while HDB holds a minimum 6 months duration.

Wishing to earn extra income from renting out your property in Singapore? Listing on home-sharing website Airbnb is an increasingly popular option for Singaporeans to lease out their property to foreigners on a short-term basis for extra income.

Accordingly to the Straits Times, there were an estimated 7,000 Singapore property listings on Airbnb as of November 2016. An Singapore host can also earn an average of S$5,000 a yaer from listing their property on Airbnb.

However, it is likely to be in breach of Singapore’s housing laws when renting the property out on Airbnb. In general, property rentals have to be at least either 6 months long (for HDB flats) or 3 months long (for private properties). HDB flats also cannot be rented to tourists.

Considering Singapore is a small island and government have been putting in efforts to build more affordable government housing (HDB / EC) to accommodate those that cannot afford privates homes. One thing which they have been strict with will be the rental of homes for the purpose of income.

What Are the Penalties?

Under the Planning Act, the new rules make it illegal for people to rent out, sublet or share their private homes with others for under 6 months. However, following a 2015 public consultation by the URA, the bar was lowered to under 3 months for private homes with effect from 30 June 2017.

  • Those who carry out or allow the development of any home, without approval from the Government, are liable to be fined up to $200,000.
  • Repeat offenders face jail time of up to a year, on top of the $200,000.
  • Those convicted of the offence, but still continue to rent the unit out to others, can be fined up to $10,000 for each extra day of the rental after conviction.

So for those that are looking for a short stay in Singapore and trying to book through Airbnb, make sure the type of house you are staying and noted the minimum stay duration. Surely you do not want to be thrown out of the house when the owners get into trouble.

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