Restrict short-term rentals to specific type of property

It is most regrettable that while the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recognises that short-term rentals can negatively affect the living environment of our residential estates, it has failed to ensure that home-sharing sites such as Airbnb and their clients comply strictly with existing laws requiring a three-month minimum stay at private condominiums (Govt to seek views on short-term private home rentals; April 2).

Can the URA share its findings from the previous rounds of consultations over the last five years?

How much more time does URA need to work through the process while home-sharing sites skirt the existing laws?

What is stopping URA from cracking down on short-term rentals?

Short-term rentals have negatively impacted the living conditions in private condominiums for those who treat their estate as a home and not a hotel.

No amount of safeguards and regulations will eliminate the range of inconveniences such residents will have to bear.

But, if the URA sticks to restricting short-term rentals to a specific type of property tailored for such an activity, it would not have to trouble itself with the repercussions of short-term rentals on our residential environment.

This is a point that was also raised by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in Parliament last year when he spoke out against short-term rentals of private residential properties (New private home category for short-term rentals under study; Feb 7, 2017).

People who wish to live or invest in such properties and host guests from all over the world will then be free to do so without imposing on the vast majority, who shun such commercial transactions intheir estates.

Toh Cheng Seong