Short-term rentals

Condos should get 100% consent on home-sharing

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA's) suggestion to allow for home-sharing is most unsatisfactory (URA suggests 80% consent rule for condos to offer Airbnb-style home-sharing; ST Online, April 16).

Its proposed 80 per cent consent rule should apply only to developments that intend to sell en bloc for a conversion to a specific type of property that allows for home-sharing, rather than in voting for such an activity that will inconvenience the lives of the 20 per cent who do not wish to have anything to do with the business in their estate, regardless of the proposed safeguards.

Any development that seeks to allow home-sharing without a collective sale should have full consensus by its stakeholders on the matter.

Even then, this must be subjected to approval and licensing rules for conversion of use, based on a broad set of criteria that rigorously assesses the projected demand and supply of rooms in the hospitality sector, among other factors.

In short, prior in-principle approval for conversion of use needs to be obtained from URA before voting proceeds, as only a specific number of properties ought to be green-lit for home-sharing across our island, with priority given to those close to major tourist sites.

I hope that the sharing-economy fraternity in Singapore, especially the likes of Airbnb, can be more discerning of the fact that, unlike vehicles or machine tools, a home is far more than just an asset to be shared and monetised via strangers, especially in an area with shared common facilities.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2018, with the headline 'Condos should get 100% consent on home-sharing'. Print Edition | Subscribe