URA begins public consultation on short-term rentals

Supporters of Airbnb operations in New York hold signs during a rally at City Hall on Jan 20, 2015, before a hearing on "Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilising Neighborhoods?" which was meant to examine the issue of short term r
Supporters of Airbnb operations in New York hold signs during a rally at City Hall on Jan 20, 2015, before a hearing on "Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilising Neighborhoods?" which was meant to examine the issue of short term rentals as handled by Airbnb. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan noted how the online home-sharing portal has been hotly debated in many cities. -- PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has started a month-long public consultation to gather feedback on short-term rentals in private residential properties.

It will be reviewing the need to adjust current guidelines, which do not permit rentals shorter than six months. The URA added in a statement on Wednesday that it will also look into enhancing its enforcement powers, particularly in the area of investigation.

The consultation will include discussions with stakeholders as well as an online questionnaire, which can be viewed at http://ura.sg/shorttermstays. The public can submit their feedback from now till Feb 23.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blogpost on Wednesday said that while resources like cars can be shared via mobile apps such as Uber to benefit consumers, some things like homes are "harder to share".

He noted how online home-sharing portal Airbnb has been hotly debated in many cities, with New York City banning it, and Amsterdam and San Francisco considering tighter regulations.

"While it earns extra income for the home owners, their neighbours would not like to see their quiet neighbourhood becoming a hotel district," said Mr Khaw, adding that while some private home owners enjoy the international friendships and cultural exchanges, others are uncomfortable with the presence of transient visitors who use their common facilities.

"I myself think it not a good idea. We certainly do not allow such arrangements in HDB towns," he said.

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