No guarantee long-term tenants are more considerate

 A man walks past a logo of Airbnb after a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov 26, 2015.
A man walks past a logo of Airbnb after a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov 26, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

I hope the authorities will approve the short-term rental of homes, facilitated by companies such as Airbnb ("Home sharing still up in the Airbnb"; last Thursday, and "Regulated homestays offer valuable experience" by Mr Francis Zhan; last Friday).

I am currently staying in Montreal, Canada, and found my accommodation through Airbnb.

"Staying local" has provided a unique experience that no hotel or commercial lodging can match.

My housemates (who are from different countries) and I get to share one another's cultures and views, and, in the process, have become good friends.

They and the landlady are on hand to provide invaluable information on the local ways, which eased my stay here.

My monthly rental is also equivalent to, perhaps, a two- to three-night stay in a mid-range hotel, presenting a more affordable option for me, as I am staying for a longer period, but shorter than six months.

The reason given by the Singapore authorities for disallowing short-term tenants is that they are more disruptive to neighbours.

However, there is no guarantee that tenants on longer-term leases and even owner-occupiers will be more considerate. We have come across many instances of neighbours who do not get along or are nuisances.

As for neighbours having to deal with strangers on short-term tenancies intruding on the common areas, this situation is comparable to owners and longer-term tenants having many relatives and friends visiting them.

My point is that whether the neighbours are the owners, or long-term or short-term tenants makes little difference to how conducive the common environment is. It all depends on individual personalities and practices.

We should trust people to behave, rather than insinuate that people on short-term leases are prone to be disruptive.

Airbnb allows reviews of the homes, as well as how helpful the landlords were.

Perhaps, landlords or co-tenants could also give their opinions of how considerate the tenants were.

In that way, the more unsavoury ones could be barred from renting on a short-term basis.

I hope that the authorities will consider legalising short-term rentals, which come with many advantages.

Maria Loh Mun Foong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'No guarantee long-term tenants are more considerate'. Print Edition | Subscribe