Short-term rentals still illegal says URA, minimum remains at 3 months

Short-term lease limits are here to stay as most 2018 survey respondents fear negative effects on neighbours or fellow residents.

Photo: YT screengrab - used for illustration purposes only

Singapore – After nearly four years of discussions, there will be no changes in short-term leasing in Singapore. Authorities announced on May 8 (Wednesday) that the minimum stay offered by platforms like Airbnb will continue to be three months.

Home-sharing platform operators and 1,039 homeowner survey respondents reached a stalemate regarding the proposed rules of cutting the minimum stay period, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) who added that it would not proceed with the proposals.

Among the regulations made by the URA last year is that 80 per cent of owners in a condominium development must consent to short-term rentals and that an annual limit of 90 days be placed for units used for short stays.

Survey findings

A survey conducted from August to November last year revealed that the majority of respondents perceived that negative effects on other residents would occur if short-term rentals were implemented.

About seven out of 10 respondents believe that short-term accommodations would increase security concerns in their property (68 per cent) and lead to privacy issues for residents (67 per cent), reported Today.

Another majority (six out of 10 respondents) perceive that short-term stays could lead to occupants misbehaving and causing disturbances to neighbours.

Meanwhile, 56 per cent perceive occupants may damage common facilities.

Nearly seven out of 10 (69 per cent) supported the proposed regulations established by URA regarding the consent threshold and annual limit.

While many recognise the opportunity for passive income brought by short-term rentals, only seven per cent are willing to lease their homes for short-term stays.

Airbnb’s head of public policy for South-east Asia, Mich Goh expressed their disappointment on the decision: “After nearly four years of consultation, it is disappointing that the discussion has not moved forward.”

She added that various governments had permitted short-term rentals in recent years and “by sticking with the status quo, Singapore remains the exception.”

Goh noted that Airbnb is equipped with tools to guide hosts in complying with local laws and that the platform is committed to working with the government when it comes to home-sharing in Singapore.

The URA, however, responds: “If and when platform operators demonstrate that they are prepared to adhere to the regulatory framework, will we open the review once more.”

Real estate services company Cushman and Wakefield’s head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia Christine Li said that “The decision is rather unsurprising although it took several years for the government to come to such a decision.”

She called it a “sensible move” that protects the interests of private property residents given the fact that Singapore is one of the world’s most heavily populated countries.

Li added that the decision would help mid-tier and budget hotels and stabilise hotel occupancy during a time of limited growth in the industry.

Read related: When Can Singaporean Rent out their home for Short-term tourist?