News: Home-sharing on the rise despite government restriction

Oct 12, 2017

Chua Hak Bin, an economist with Maybank Kim Eng Research said, “Home-sharing may attract a new segment of visitors who would have otherwise not come to Singapore.”

Although the likes of Airbnb are restricted from operating in Singapore, home-sharing has been slowly growing in the city-state as evidenced by the drop in hotel receipts and stagnant hotel rates, despite the pick up in tourist arrivals, reported Bloomberg.

There is also the rising number of complaints on short-term rentals. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in August revealed that they have received 415 complaints on short-term rentals during the first seven months of the year – making 2017 on track to reach 711 cases, up from 2016’s 608.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which instituted a three-month minimum period for private home rentals in June, revealed that a public consultation process and separate talks with industry players, such as hotel operators and Airbnb, failed to arrive at a clear consensus.

“The issue on short-term stays is complex, multi-faceted and has wide-ranging implications,” said the URA. “While there is a place for short-term rental platforms in Singapore, what the government intends to do is to carefully review and consider safeguards in places to ensure that such rentals do not negatively affect the amenities of residential estates.”

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng Kok Kwan, however, urged the government to regulate instead of ban home-sharing services, much like the approach it had taken with car-sharing businesses like Grab and Uber.

Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore, said that the government could take “a bit of give-and-take” approach in regulating the industry.

According to her, the government could take “more of a laissez-faire approach. You consult, you do a little trial-and-error, rather than say no outright”.

But “if there’s a very big push from the ground”, then the government could “look at enforcing it a little bit more strictly”.

 

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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