Despite being illegal, more people have opened their homes for short-term rentals, as HDB investigated 184 such cases last year, compared to 106 cases from 2012, media reports said.

Those who flout the rule may be fined or lose their flats if proven guilty of renting out their flats for less than six months.

The six-month rule also applies to private homeowners, who can be jailed up to 12 months and fined up to $200,000.

Last year, URA investigated around 2,100 unauthorised uses of private residences, an increase from 2011’s 1,300 cases.

These cases include short-term leases, as well as those who illegally convert private homes into boarding houses or dormitories.

Authorities explained that short-term rentals are prohibited because most neighbours prefer not to live among “transient strangers” and it may cause a disturbance.

However, this has not deterred others from advertising their homes for short-term rentals online.

Teo Jia En, co-founder of Roomorama, revealed that her home rental portal recorded over 500 listings for Singapore properties, up 30 percent from last year.

Other similar sites such as travelmob has more than 500 local listings, while Airbnb features more than 1,000 listings.

Most of the listings appear to be condo units and rooms for short-term rentals.

Since they are cheaper and come with access to additional amenities such as a kitchen, tourists and visitors opt to rent these spaces instead of staying at hotels.

Teo shared that the most popular rentals are in Bukit Timah and East Coast, while Turochas Fuad, travelmob’s chief executive and co-founder noted that most of their guests like to stay in the central area.

“The onus is on the homeowners to make sure they are in compliance,” Teo said when asked if Roomorama enforces the short-term rental policy.

Fuad added: “We do state in our terms and conditions for our hosts to understand their local laws before they list on our site.”

 

Muneerah Bee, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email muneerah@propertyguru.com.sg

 

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