Authorities clamp down on short-term home rentals

While more Singaporeans are now opting for non-traditional accommodations such as home-stays or vacation home rentals when they travel, the same cannot be said for tourists coming to Singapore.

Short-term home rental of less than 3 consecutive months illegal

Woodlands Ave 6, HDB. Picture: iProperty

Some home rental sites and the Singaporean authorities have been in discussion about the possibility of opening up the market here to short-term stays, but the latter has said that such rentals are still a no-go at the moment.

Yet, many are still taking their chances, though the risk is high as the authorities are aware of and actively clamping down on errant landlords.

In the first 3 months of this year, there have already been 154 cases mostly involving private condominiums.

Between 2014 and 2016, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) investigated more than 1,000 private residences and last year alone, 756 cases were investigated.

URA has however relaxed the rules slightly to allow for short-term private home rentals of at least 3 consecutive months in 2017, mostly to help expatriates transition between their home country and Singapore.

Most property consultants advise against running the risk of being caught as the fines can come up to $200,000 and a jail term of up to 12 months.

See moreNo go for short-term property rental after 4 years of consultation

$30,000 additional income a month a draw for some landlords

Short-term stays often command higher rents than long-term rentals thus some landlords may be enticed to list their accommodation online on sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Aside from condominiums, it is now possible to also find landed properties being listed for such purposes.

Jalan Pari Burong, Landed Property. Picture: iProperty

For luxury landed properties such as the large colonial houses along Grange road which can cost between $15 million to $35 million, the monthly income of approximately $30,000 (fewer expenses such as cleaning and utilities), can be a strong temptation for owners to list their property for short-term stays.

See more: CPF rule-changes help buyers and sellers of HDB flats with shorter leases

It is also difficult to find long-term tenants for such large properties and short-term rental yields could outweigh the former.

Oftentimes, tourists who travel in a large group such as extended families, or professionals who are looking for conducive environments for corporate retreats or meetings fill such gaps.

Many times, neighbours are the ones who a report such grievances through the authorities also do run checks on certain high-traffic areas. Homeowners living in closely clustered spaces such as HDB flats or condominiums are particularly concerned about the safety, cleanliness and noise level.

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