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Status quo for regulations on short-term accommodation in private residential properties

  Published: 08 May 2019

URA announced today that the minimum stay duration of three months will continue to apply for any accommodation in private residential properties. This decision is taken after extensive consultations with diverse groups of stakeholders on the proposed regulatory framework for the use of private residential properties for short-term accommodation (STA). 

Based on a national survey commissioned by URA, the majority of Singaporeans supported the proposed regulatory framework for STA. But several home-sharing platform operators said that the proposed rules were overly restrictive and wanted a lighter touch approach. 

Given this impasse, URA will not proceed with the proposed regulations at this stage.  Instead, it will continue to monitor the situation, as well as broader developments on the STA scene. URA remains open to reviewing the position in future, if and when platform operators demonstrate that they are prepared to adhere to the regulatory framework. In the meantime, the use of private residential properties for short-term accommodation of less than three consecutive months remains illegal.

Extensive consultations on STA and proposed regulatory framework

To better understand the complex issue of STA, URA has been consulting key stakeholders extensively since 2015. These include members of the public, Management Corporations (MCSTs) and Managing Agents (MAs) of condominiums, neighbourhood committees, hotel and serviced apartment industry players, as well as home-sharing platform operators.

In April 2018, URA and relevant agencies formulated a regulatory framework to facilitate STA in private residential properties, while safeguarding the safety, privacy and security of homes, and the residential character of local communities. Please refer to the Annex [PDF, 235kb] for a summary of these regulations.

URA also commissioned a national survey in the second half of 2018, consisting of face-to-face interviews with more than a thousand private homeowners. The majority of the respondents felt that STA would result in a range of negative externalities:

  • 68% indicated that STA would raise security concerns in their estate
  • 67% indicated that STA would result in a loss of privacy for residents
  • 64% indicated that short-term occupants might misbehave and cause disturbances like noise nuisances
  • 56% indicated that short-term occupants might damage common facilities 
  • 55% indicated that STA could pose a greater risk of fire in the estate

In line with the above concerns, a significant majority of respondents supported the rules set out in the proposed regulatory framework. For example,

  • 69% supported the proposed 80% consent threshold for STA to be allowed in a strata-titled development
  • 69% supported the 90-day cap on short-term stays per unit within a year
  • 80% indicated that home-sharing platform operators should be licenced and regulated by the government

While there was recognition of the potential upsides in supplementing income through short-term lets, only 7% of respondents expressed their intention to let out their homes or investment properties if STA were to be allowed in the future. 

Key stakeholders not supportive of proposed rules

While the majority of Singaporeans supported the proposed rules, there were several key stakeholders who expressed reservations.

The MCSTs expressed concerns with the greater responsibilities placed on them and their ability to administer the controls within their estates. This is especially so in developments where subsidiary proprietors may want additional measures to be in place to further mitigate the impact of transient occupants who live in their midst and share the common facilities, such as the gym or swimming pool. 

Several platform operators who were engaged said that they could not support the proposed regulatory framework. In particular, they did not support the proposed threshold for owners’ consent, and the cap on permissible nights for short-term accommodation. It is understandable that the platform operators would be driven by their commercial imperatives. But it is not tenable for URA to allow a more relaxed regulatory framework that does not address the concerns raised by Singaporeans. 

Conclusion

Based on the totality of responses from all stakeholders to the proposed framework, URA has decided to maintain the status quo at this time. URA will continue to enforce the current requirement for a minimum stay duration of three months in private residential properties.

We remain open to the possibility of implementing a framework that could accommodate STA in the future, if and when all stakeholders are prepared to fully commit to regulations that seek to ensure that such activities do not adversely affect our living environment.

 

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