Minimum period for staying in private homes cut from six months to three

Private houses in the Sin Ming and Shunfu estate.
Private houses in the Sin Ming and Shunfu estate.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The minimum duration for staying in a private residential property has been lowered from six months to three months, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Friday (June 30).

The change takes immediate effect and applies to all private homes which have been approved for residential use.

Stay durations of less than three consecutive months, such as short-term stays facilitated through home-sharing platforms, will still not be allowed, said URA in a statement.

The minimum stay duration of six months for private homes has been in place since 2009.

URA said that during its public consultation exercise on short-term stays in 2015, most respondents supported a lower minimum stay period. This was factored into URA's latest rule change.

URA said that it has observed a growing demand from groups seeking accommodation for periods of between three to six months, such as academics and students visiting local Institutions of higher learning, and professionals on work assignments.

The groups had said that they preferred staying in private homes over hotels and serviced apartments. This is based on the groups' choice of location, range in unit sizes and financial affordability.

URA said the changes to the minimum stay duration will give these groups more accommodation options. Property owners seeking to rent their homes will also have more opportunities with the rule change.

"Hotels and serviced apartments will continue to cater to visitors on shorter stays," said the authority.

"It is important that we preserve the residential character of private housing estates. URA has assessed that a minimum stay duration of three months is an appropriate limit which is not expected to cause any significant impact to residential communities, even as it extends benefits to potential tenants and landlords."

Even so, URA said it will monitor the situation closely and assess the need for a further review.

The authority is also reviewing possible guidelines to facilitate short-term rentals and intends to conduct a public consultation to seek feedback on this.

More details on the consultation will be provided later.