Make clear the rules on short-term rentals

PHOTO: Make clear the rules on short-term rentals

SINGAPORE - With the rise in the number of short-term home leasing cases, it is clear that not all home owners are aware of the rules governing such practices ("Short-term home rentals illegal, warn authorities"; Tuesday).

In what has been dubbed "transient subletting", a home owner rents out a room or a whole unit to holidaymakers for a short period. Such a practice is, however, illegal as six months is the minimum subletting period here.

A simple online search reveals many websites carrying advertisements for short-term home leasing in Singapore. This is a troubling state of affairs.

Harsh punishments are meted out to home owners who break the rules. Housing Board flat owners can be fined or even have their flats taken away.

Given that home ownership features strongly as a Singaporean core value, it is imperative that citizens be protected from losing their homes.

It is timely for the authorities to clarify and properly enunciate the relevant rules and guidelines on home rentals.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority and the HDB cited disturbance and inconvenience to neighbours as reasons for the rules. But it remains unclear why short-term stays that do not involve money are acceptable.

As Singapore becomes host to a greater number of regional tourists who stay for only a few days, the propensity for "transient subletting" increases.

To ensure that this illegal practice does not continue, it is necessary that all stakeholders be made aware of the rules, the reasons for them and the proper channels to go to for advice.

Bruno Poh Teck Boon

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