In trying to appease concerns of the Singapore government, home-booking company Airbnb said it is ready to make some concessions on short-term rentals here. In February, 2 men pleaded guilty for using platforms including Airbnb Singapore to rent out condominium units for less than six months.
HDB flats (in which about 80 percent of Singaporeans stay) are subject to a minimum rental period of six months while for private homes it is three consecutive months. Owners of private homes will only be allowed to do short-term rental if they have permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).The Minister for National Development said in late January that it would seek public feedback around March or April on how to regulate short-term letting of property.
Government officials have justified the minimum rental period by saying that it minimises disturbances to neighbors. The home-rental service has drawn fire elsewhere from officials upset about lost revenue from hotel taxes.
Airbnb’s head of public policy for Southeast Asia had earlier said that “for us (Airbnb) we feel that every person should have the right to share their own private residence. We don’t think that anyone should be criminalized for sharing their home.”
Airbnb’s Regional Director, Siew Kum Hong, in speaking to Vulcan Post recently on the topic said: “we (Airbnb) believe that Singapore’s current rule on home sharing is not feasible, not tenable.” He further hopes that the Government’s public consultations would lead it to make “fair and progressive regulations that are commensurate with Singapore’s status as a hub for technology, innovation, and new business models.”
In striking a more conciliatory tone, Airbnb said today that it has told Singapore’s government that, if asked, the company would not list HDB flats on its platform.
“According to the platform, there are 8,100 Singapore listings currently, and 60% of hosts in Singapore sharing their own homes on an occasional basis. On average, each host in Singapore rents out their space for 37 nights a year, and earn approximately US$3,400 annually from the arrangement. This extra income allows the hosts to use it as supplementary income to help them pay bills and make ends meet.”
An ideal property investment should have no vacancies, as when they do happen vacancies are a major drain on landlords. This is when property changes from cash generating assets to liabilities. This is where short-term apartment rentals, such as those facilitated by Airbnb, can be useful in offsetting some of the costs involved for an investor.
Talk to a mortgage broker if you are wondering how to monetise your property.