Open policy on open doors in some countries

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk in New Delhi on May 4. There are more than 18.000 homes in India listed on Airbnb.
Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk in New Delhi on May 4. There are more than 18.000 homes in India listed on Airbnb.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

With short-term rentals growing in popularity with services such as Airbnb, Correspondent Walter Sim looks at the situation in other parts of the world.

JAPAN

Japan has backtracked on guidelines to regulate home sharing, or minpaku, that a Bloomberg report said were issued in February. For example, hosts were allowed to rent to guests only for seven days or more, in a move aimed at protecting the hotel industry.

Business daily Nikkei reported last week that a new law has been drafted and is due to be tabled in the Diet by next year. The new law is said to be a full deregulation of short-term rentals, and will update rules that are almost 70 years old.

AUSTRALIA

Current regulations prevent tourist and visitor accommodation in residential zones, but the Sydney city government has been pushing for softer rules, ABC News reported in February.

The proposal comes after a few homeowners were fined over A$1 million (S$995,000) in 2014, and will "balance the desire of property owners to sign on with providers like Airbnb with a wish to maintain the safety and amenity of neighbourhoods", the report said.

UNITED KINGDOM

A law passed last year allows Londoners to rent their homes for up to 90 days a year without having to apply for special permission.

British Secretary for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles said then: "The Internet is changing the way we work and live, and the law needs to catch up."

CHINA

There are no laws against short- term rentals in China, which has its own equivalent of Airbnb - Tujia, an online apartment-sharing platform.

INDIA

India's tourism ministry said last month it will review laws on home-sharing. There are now more than 18,000 homes listed on Airbnb in 100 cities - a 115 per cent growth over one year.

MALAYSIA

There are no laws banning short- term rentals, although falling occupancy rates have prompted a Johor hotel association to seek government intervention. The Johor Baru City Council in turn said no licence was required for owners to rent out their homes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2016, with the headline 'Open policy on open doors in some countries'. Print Edition | Subscribe