2017 Yearender: Housing

New rules on short-term private rentals

Private apartment owners cannot rent out their whole flat or rooms for a short period on websites such as Airbnb. Single-storey homes must have a smoke detector in the living room; multi-storey homes, one on each floor. Last year, HDB noticed a highe
Private apartment owners cannot rent out their whole flat or rooms for a short period on websites such as Airbnb. Single-storey homes must have a smoke detector in the living room; multi-storey homes, one on each floor. Last year, HDB noticed a higher-than-usual breakdown rate in lifts installed by Sigma in their first year of operation.PHOTO: REUTERS PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO ST FILE PHOTO

In February, Parliament passed a new law that forbids private apartment owners from renting out their whole flat or rooms for a short period on websites such as Airbnb.

The changes to the law came on the back of growing complaints last year regarding short-term rentals.

But the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is also studying the option of creating a new category of private homes that will be allowed for short-term rentals.

Until then, the Planning Act states that it is illegal to rent out homes for less than three months, unless the owners have obtained permission from the URA.

There were 985 cases of unauthorised short-term accommodation in private homes in 2015 and 2016, and about 750 cases from January to November this year.

Earlier this month, two Airbnb hosts were charged over their roles in providing unauthorised short-term stays to tenants, the first use of new regulations against home sharing since they kicked in on May 15.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2017, with the headline 'Smoke detectors mandatory for new homes Sigma still banned from new HDB projects New rules on short-term private rentals'. Print Edition | Subscribe