Sengkang flat illegally leased on Airbnb gets discovered by taxi driver after picking up tourists

Sengkang flat illegally leased on Airbnb gets discovered by taxi driver after picking up tourists
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News reader

A taxi driver accidentally stumbled upon a flat in Sengkang which had been illegally leased out on Airbnb, while he was ferrying some tourists from Changi Airport on Tuesday (March 7).

The cabby alerted Shin Min Daily News to the incident on Wednesday (March 8) and reporters later spoke to the owner of the flat who said that she was unaware that such leasing was illegal.

According to the cabby, Mr Hong, the tourists asked to head to Sengkang.

He said: "Those two tourists directly passed me an invoice retrieved from Airbnb that had the address on it.

"When I found out that this was a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, I started feeling that something was wrong.

"I remember that according to regulations, it is illegal to lease out HDB flats for short-term stays."

After taking a look at the invoice, Mr Hong told the tourists that the destination they were headed to was not a hotel, nor was it a residential unit allowed for short-term stays under the regulations.

However, the tourists replied that the owner of the flat was also staying in the flat with them.

Mr Hong continued: "When we arrived at Fernvale Link in Sengkang, I realised that the place was really an HDB flat. I started questioning myself if the regulations have changed."

Reporters later found a listing of the unit based on a photo of the invoice sent by Mr Hong.

They discovered that the owner charged $42 a night for one room, and there were 45 positive reviews on the listing.

After that, the reporters paid a visit to the flat.

The female owner of the flat said that she was unclear if this was against regulations, and thought that it was fine for her to rent out her room.

She said: "We looked at the Airbnb website and found that so many other people renting out their houses."

When reporters searched on Airbnb for the listing again on Wednesday (March 7), they found that it had been taken down.

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