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Important that homes remain a safe haven, investment for S'poreans

It is not unexpected that views are divided on the issue of home sharing ("Can S'pore make room and rules for home-share offerings?"; last Sunday).

To formulate a policy on this issue, I suggest that the Government fall back on first principles.

Property is the single most important investment for most Singaporeans. The value of their investment must not be adversely affected by possible noise, rubbish and so on, caused by short-term tenants in the neighbourhood.

Tenants, especially short-term ones, are less likely to protect the property, including common facilities, than owners.

Homes are also safe havens. How are landlords to screen potential guests? Security is always an issue, as we do not know the backgrounds of potential guests.

Even if the authorities are able to introduce legislation to control short-term tenants, given the potentially large number of properties that may participate in the schemes, how are the rules to be enforced in a timely manner?

At the end of the day, if we allow short-term rentals, who wins? Some home owners and the home-sharing companies.

Who loses? Hotels and potentially most Singaporeans who own and live in their homes.

Steven Gregory Ang Boon Kiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 29, 2016, with the headline 'Important that homes remain a safe haven, investment for S'poreans'. Print Edition | Subscribe