Category Archives: Government

Some accommodation providers breaching minimum tenancy rule with early exit clause

Some home rental agencies are offering tenants short-term stays by inserting an early termination clause into their contracts, thereby bypassing the three-month minimum tenancy rule.

Channel NewsAsia discovered this when it tried to rent units from two different accommodation providers.

Responding to this reporter’s request for a three-week stay, a staff member of the first company said it was “not a problem”, as long as the termination form is signed when the tenant ends his or her stay.

The company even provided an early termination notice form.

The company’s agent also stated in an email that “as per Singapore rules and regulations, the minimum lease duration in residential developments in Singapore is three months but it could be terminated earlier with no penalty if a notice of termination is sent 30 days before the departure date”.

Another agency Channel NewsAsia approached also obliged its request for a short-term stay.

Lawyer Amolat Singh noted that these companies are skirting the regulations by inserting an exit clause. “So I could enter into such an agreement and say: ‘Sorry, after one week I want to quit,’ and that will be acceptable to them,” he said.

On Dec 5, 2017, two men were charged for providing short-term stays to tenants via Airbnb.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority said that companies providing accommodation services are subject to enforcement actions if they are found to have breached the regulations.

It added that owners are primarily responsible in the event of such breaches, while tenants may also be subject to investigation.

URA said about 600 properties were investigated from January to September last year.

Source – ChanelNewsAsia 6 Jan 2018

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Two men charged over illegal home-sharing

Two men were brought to court on Tuesday (5 December) for illegally leasing out four condominium units for short-term stays via Airbnb, reported Channel News Asia.

34-year old Yao Song Liang and 35-year old Terence Tan En Wei each faced four charges under the Planning Act, which prohibits converting the use of a property for short-term stay without URA’s approval.

The duo, who are expected to plead guilty to the charges next month, are accused of renting out the units located in three different blocks at D’leedon Condominium along Farrer Road.

Court documents stated that the premises “were occupied by the same person(s) for a period of less than six consecutive months in return for the payment of rent,” in violation of regulations.

Since the case is the first of its kind here, URA prosecutor Douglas Neo requested a six-week adjournment to file submissions.

URA has investigated over 1,000 private homes between 2014 and 2016 for violation of the minimum stay duration or an average of around 330 properties per year.

For the first nine months of the year, however, URA investigated around 600 properties or almost twice the number investigated for each of the last few years.

First-time offenders face a fine of up to $200,000. In case of a continuing offence, the offender may be further fined by up to $10,000 for each day or part of a day that the offence continued the following conviction.

Commenting on the prosecution of the duo, Airbnb noted that Singapore’s current framework for home sharing “doesn’t reflect how Singaporeans travel or use their homes today” while standing in contrast with the country’s commitment to innovation.

Nonetheless, it remains “strongly committed” to collaborate with the authorities in finding ways to allow home sharing within the city-state.

“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,” it said.

Airbnb revealed that it helped drive $324 million of economic activity in Singapore last year. The platform helped Singaporeans earn extra income, with the average host earning $4,700 a year.