Home sharing has its pitfalls

I am happy for Ms Jessica Cheam for having had such a good experience with Airbnb ("Singapore's sharing economy: Why are we not doing more?"; Feb 19).

However, there are pitfalls to such home sharing.

For example, hotels have a legal obligation to keep records of all guests, and they do so by making copies of their passports.

How do we enforce this for hundreds or thousands of individuals who rent out their homes? At a time of heightened security concerns, this is particularly important.

Next, most Singaporeans live in heavily subsidised HDB flats.

Should HDB owners with spare rooms be allowed to monetise them? Perhaps they should instead be encouraged to downsize to smaller units, and free up the larger units for bigger families.

The other major concern is the disruption caused to one's neighbours by strangers constantly trooping in and out.

The assumption underlining Ms Cheam's commentary is that all visitors are pleasant, responsible and law-abiding.

But this perspective can be overly optimistic and dangerous.

A former neighbour used to rent out his entire 1,500 sq ft apartment. Every few days, visitors in groups of four or five would arrive with heavy luggage bags.

We saw students, heavily made-up women in skimpy clothes, and intimidating-looking men who smoked ceaselessly outside my door, among others.

This stream of tenants was so unpredictable that all the other units on my floor kept their doors locked.

This was not at all helpful to building neighbourly ties and the kampung spirit.

Koh Hui Hoon (Madam)