How will home-sharing affect real estate landscape?

Home-sharing looks like it’s here to stay. And the Singapore authorities is realising that the best reaction to this growing phenomenon could be “if you can’t fight them, join them”.

Or at least manage them. And that may not be such a bad thing in the long run.

Proposed rules for home-sharing released in April for feedback

The Skywoods, Bukit Panjang. Picture: iProperty

One of the most popular home-sharing websites, Airbnb, recognises that Singapore has one of the most restrictive short-term rental rules in the world. But before amendments are legislatively made to the Planning Act, the current rules disallow short-term stays below a specific period.

For private properties, the minimum is 3 months and for HDB flats, 6 months.

Under the Planning Act, offenders can be fined up to $200,000 and may also face jail time. While the Urban Redevelopment Authorities (URA) has said the decision to prosecute will differ from case to case, recalcitrant offenders who fail to comply after enforcement actions will be charged.

New housing category to allow short-term rental

Security risks and financial accountability of 2 of the main concerns arising from short-term rentals or home-sharing.

Cities such as Barcelona are already experiencing the backlash from home-sharing activities. Neighbours often complain of rowdiness and cleanliness can be an issue.

But is there a middle ground? One of the proposals in the consultation paper include a new category of housing which will allow for shorter-term rentals. But could this move raise property prices and create segregation in the social fabric?

For the moment, the 3-month minimum rules still stay.

But that may not exclude all Airbnb users as some renters could genuinely be looking for a place for that period of time.