Friday 23 January 2015

URA may step up action against short-term stays

By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits Times, 22 Jan 2015

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is considering beefing up enforcement against unauthorised uses of private homes.

Possibilities include acquiring powers to enter premises using force, and requiring suspected offenders to give statements and produce the necessary documents for investigation purposes.

The move comes amid public calls for greater enforcement against residential subletting violations, such as short-term stays, the URA said yesterday.

To help with the review, a public consultation was launched yesterday to get feedback on short- term rentals in private homes.

The consultation comprises a public online survey and talks with stakeholders like grassroots leaders, the Singapore Hotel Association and the Sharing Economy Association (Singapore) or Seas.

Through this, the URA will also review the need to adjust current guidelines, which do not permit rentals shorter than six months. The review will be completed later this year.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote on his blog yesterday that while sharing resources like cars via mobile apps such as Uber can benefit consumers, commodities like homes are "harder to share".

"While it earns extra income for the home owners, their neighbours would not like to see their quiet neighbourhood becoming a hotel district," he wrote. "I myself think it's not a good idea. We certainly do not allow such arrangements in HDB towns."

Mr Khaw added that while some private home owners enjoy the international friendships and cultural exchanges, others are uncomfortable with the presence of transient visitors.

The URA said some residents have raised concerns over noise, loss of privacy, security and the misuse of common facilities.

Last year, it received 375 complaints about short-term stays, up from 231 in 2013.

In response to the consultation, a spokesman for home rental site Airbnb said: "We encourage the URA to create fair, clear and progressive rules that allow individuals to occasionally rent out their primary residences."

Seas treasurer and chief executive officer of home rental site PandaBed, Mr James Chua, said: "There is a lot of misunderstanding about short-term rentals. We hope to provide market information, statistics and facts about home owners that can lead to a more informed decision."

Retiree Yeo Hock Yew, 66, who lives in a condominium near Chinatown, supports stepping up enforcement powers.

"Many of my neighbours and I are unhappy with some of the foreigners who stay here," he said of short-term tenants. "They litter, make a lot of noise and crowd the gym and multi-purpose rooms. If the owners are irresponsible, the law has to come in."

The public can access the survey until Feb 23 at

No comments:

Post a Comment