Short-term rentals can help home owners earn a living

Mr Toh Cheng Seong has chastised the Urban Redevelopment Authority for yet another survey to seek views on Airbnb-style stays (Authorities dragging their feet on short-term rental issue; July 26).

He further termed such businesses "nefarious".

Car-sharing apps, such as Grab and Uber, were met with similar resistance from the authorities initially, but have since seen overwhelming success and acceptance by consumers.

They came at a time when Singapore was undergoing significant economic structural changes, during which many professionals, managers, executives and technicians were retrenched. Many of them took to driving to carve out a living.

The cushioning effects derived from the ability to earn an income cannot be overstated.

Likewise, many older Singaporeans may have invested in property in their earlier years or have empty rooms in large apartments after their grown-up children have left.

Home-sharing is an attractive way to get some returns on their fixed assets.

This adds to the resilience and self-reliance of Singaporeans and lessens the economic burden on the Government.

Home-sharing does attract a different segment or class of tourists. To close this option is to clip the strength and dynamism of Singapore as a tourism hub.

It is myopic to view home-sharing in black and white.

A well-thought-through policy has to look at the shades of grey and formulate strategies that best meet the interests of Singapore, as well as its communities and individuals.

Law Yong Kiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2018, with the headline 'Short-term rentals can help home owners earn a living'. Print Edition | Subscribe