The misuse of residential units continues to go unchecked as owners convert their properties to accommodate a greater number of people to earn a higher rental.
The situation is prevalent in areas such as Bangsar and Bandar Sunway as greedy owners put in permanent partitions to form more rooms.
Nearby residents claim the local authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to the issue with nothing done despite numerous complaints.
Jalan Medang Serai, Bangsar
According to a resident living in Jalan Medang Serai, Lee*, there are at least six units that are being run commercially, similar to hostels.
"Another four townhouses are being converted into 'hostels' as I see the same people involved in the other places going in and out of these units," she said.
"The lower unit can be renovated to have a built-up of up to 6,000sq ft while the upper units are about 2,600sq ft. In the original layout, the lower floor units have only three rooms while the upper floor has four rooms."
According to Lee, each unit now has between nine and 13 rooms. The average rental is about RM600 (S$230) per room, and with a maximum of 13 rooms per unit, owners can make almost RM8,000, more than double the average rental of about RM3,000 a month.
An online advertisement posted on June 17 with the heading "Comfortable Studio Apartment" was spotted with a Jalan Medang Serai, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar address.
The advertisement describes the place as a "studio unit" which is clean, cool and very spacious, with a fridge, air conditioning, water heater, washing machine and balcony. The rental was advertised at RM900 a month.
When called, the advertiser, who was also a tenant, responded that a studio unit would be available in September after he moved out and that there were eight studio units in total, with every unit having its own private space.
A check showed that some studios were advertised earlier for up to RM1,400 a month.
The facade of these houses-turned-hostels is almost similar to the original design, but most of the converted units have a narrow front gate.