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Illegal Airbnb listings offering short stays in Singapore removed from platform

LaksaNews

Myth
Member
SINGAPORE: Illegal listings on Airbnb offering short-term stays in Singapore have been removed from the platform after CNA reported that some hosts have been advertising such rentals.

CNA had found more than 15 such listings offering two- and three-night stays in condominium units and Housing Board (HDB) flats. Some were active for months, claiming to be “authorised serviced apartments”.

One host, who had seven listings of units in Geylang and Katong as well as over 200 reviews, accepted a two-night booking from CNA, while others invited CNA to book their place for a few nights.

In response to CNA’s queries, an Airbnb spokesperson on Friday (Jun 7) said: “We have taken action on the highlighted listings that don’t comply with local laws, including removing these listings from our platform and cancelling any upcoming reservations that may have been booked.”

Airbnb has also contacted all hosts in Singapore to remind them to comply with the law.

Short-term rentals of less than three months for private residential properties and less than six months for HDB flats are prohibited in Singapore.

The spokesperson added that Airbnb has been in regular discussions with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to ensure hosts “remain compliant with local laws”.

Related:​


LISTINGS REMOVED​


Checks by CNA found that the hosts who offered short stays to this reporter had either taken down their listings or had them removed by the platform.

Bob, the host who accepted a two-night stay from CNA, changed his user name to Lucia and removed the listing shortly after the story.

A check on Monday showed that all his listings had been removed from his profile, together with almost all of his 200 reviews. He did not respond to CNA’s queries about the legality of his listings.

One host named Candice claimed she was only offering three-month stays when CNA questioned her listing. This was despite earlier inviting this reporter to book her condominium unit near Leonie Hill Road for two nights.

Her listing has been removed.

Another listing for a room in an HDB flat in Bukit Panjang - which claimed to be an "authorised serviced apartment" - was also taken down. It offered stays with a minimum of one night.

The hosts, Missy and Mint, did not reply when CNA asked if they knew offering short-term rentals of HDB properties was against the law.

missy_hdb_airbnb_listing_0.png

An Airbnb listing of an HDB unit.

Two other hosts also removed their listings after CNA questioned them.

When CNA probed a host named Hayley after she invited this reporter to book her unit at Mayfair Modern condominium for three nights, she said she “actually didn’t know” it was illegal to offer such short stays in Singapore.

Hayley later took down her listing and said she would look for long-term tenants instead.

Another listing by a host named Rebecca allowed bookings of a few nights at her unit at RV Residences in River Valley.

When questioned, she apologised and said it was not for short-term stays. She later removed the listing, which had two reviews from previous guests.

A check on Tuesday showed she had deactivated her profile.

URA told CNA previously that the listings on online platforms “may provide an indication that certain private properties are being misused”.

It added that it would take action if investigations show that these properties have been misused.

Although those listings were removed, there were still a few that offered stays in what looked like condominium units. Some of them could be booked for a few nights.

Airbnb requires hosts listing stays in hotels or serviced apartments to provide licence numbers and authorisations. They must tick a box to attest that the licence numbers and authorisations they have provided are authentic.

If they do not do so, they have to shift the minimum number of nights to 92 for condominium units.

Airbnb, which is a legal platform in Singapore, does not permit hosting in HDB flats.

Listen:​

RENTAL IN SINGAPORE​


All residential properties in Singapore – condominiums, walk-up apartments, flats, bungalows, or terrace houses – are intended for long-term residence.

Only hotels can offer one-night stays. Serviced apartments must be rented out for a minimum of seven days.

These serviced apartments have to be developed or managed under one owner. Strata subdivision of serviced apartments is not allowed, which means an individual unit in a condominium cannot be a serviced apartment.

URA has said that the minimum stay duration of three consecutive months for private residential properties is to “minimise frequent turnover of transient occupants”.

Such turnovers change the “residential character of a property and negatively affect neighbouring residents”.

Related:​



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It's great to see that Airbnb has taken action to remove illegal listings in Singapore after CNA's report. Ensuring compliance with local laws is crucial for maintaining the integrity and safety of short-term rental platforms. This proactive step by Airbnb, including contacting all hosts to remind them of the regulations, is commendable. For anyone considering listing a property or booking a stay in Singapore, it's important to be aware of and adhere to these local laws to avoid any legal issues.
 
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