Airbnb has questioned Singapore’s current framework for home sharing, in response to two men being charged on Tuesday (5 December) for renting out their condominium units for short-term stay via the home sharing platform.
Terence Tan En Wei, 35, and Yao Song Liang, 34, are accused of renting out four different units at D’leedon Condominium via Airbnb without obtaining the relevant approval – the first such case in Singapore.
In an email statement to Yahoo News Singapore, an Airbnb spokesman said, “The current framework for home sharing in Singapore doesn’t reflect how Singaporeans travel or use their homes today… (and) also stands in contrast with Singapore’s commitment to innovation.”
In February this year, Parliament passed a new law to ban home owners from renting out their properties on a short-term basis unless they obtain permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Under the same law, the rental period for a private residential property must be at least three consecutive months.
Airbnb said it drove $324 million of economic activity in Singapore in 2016. The platform is helping Singaporeans earn extra income, with local hosts having earned over $70 million in the past year, or an average $4,700 per host, it added.
According to Airbnb, its research shows 40 per cent of hosts in Singapore say they rely on the extra income they earn through the platform to make ends meet while 15 per cent say the additional income has helped them avoid eviction or foreclosure.
There are 8,700 listings in Singapore and the Airbnb community has hosted more than 330,000 travelers over the past year.
The spokesman said, “We have collaborated with authorities around the world, developing clear and sensible frameworks that allow home sharing to thrive, while addressing each city’s unique challenges and concerns.
“We remain strongly committed to doing the same here in Singapore, working alongside the government to find a way forward for home sharing, both to Singapore’s immediate and long-term benefit.”