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Airbnb legal in Singapore after all?

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jpatokal
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Airbnb legal in Singapore after all?

Postby jpatokal » Wed, 14 May 2014 9:08 pm

So there's a general view that subletting private property (condos, houses etc, not HDBs) for periods of less than six months is illegal, but I stumbled onto an interesting post on Quora that challenges this. I quote:
[quote]
"...the Guideline is not law as it is not codified in a statutory instrument. The URA, in response to a query from the public, made a statement in The Straits Times on 26 May 2012 (Leasing guideline) in which it conceded that the Guideline was not a ‘ruling’, but stressed that the URA “issue[s] guidelines from time to time to provide transparency and clarity on how the URA exercises its functions under the Planning Act”
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Postby taxico » Wed, 14 May 2014 9:13 pm

your link http://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/fo ... 13-19.aspx gives an interesting read...

i guess if it doesn't get out of hand, then PAP may not enact new legislation.

mods: in light of this, is it okay to recommend short term leases in private property to forum members asking advice? or are we sticking to the party line?
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Postby JR8 » Wed, 14 May 2014 10:12 pm

SG tenancy law is derived from England+Wales tenancy law.

In the latter a lease under 6 months is a whole other kettle of fish to a 1 or 1+ year tenancy agreement (even it it's one year with a 6 month break clause).

As I recall if you start with an agreement of 6 months or less (a 'short let') it falls under a totally different legal category, and gets 'complicated'. It's one reason why short-lets, apart from their incrementally much higher wear+tear, tend to have much higher rents.

It would be nice to something more definitive on this.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 14 May 2014 10:37 pm

taxico wrote:your link http://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/fo ... 13-19.aspx gives an interesting read...

i guess if it doesn't get out of hand, then PAP may not enact new legislation.

mods: in light of this, is it okay to recommend short term leases in private property to forum members asking advice? or are we sticking to the party line?


Let's look at it another way. The MOM issues guidelines as well regarding a lot of things employment related. In the past it was things like "you shouldn't discriminate and you shouldn't ask that "Chinese only need apply", so the local employers abused that because is wasn't "law" and then started putting "mandarin speaker required" until people complained that if they weren't doing any business with Taiwan or the PRC, why was mandarin required? So today, they still haven't put a whole lot of teeth into the rules, but they are getting there, e.g., you could, as an employer, not be able to get any WP/S/EPs granted from some strange reason. If you tend to try to screw around with the preferred method here, they are going to find a way to hang you out to dry and make an example of you.

For me, I am following the government's preferred line. I don't mind other bringing this new stuff to light, but as long as they add the technical bits as well. That way, we don't run afoul of the spirit of what they want.

Similar to our concept about advertising on this forum and the lengths some have gone to, trying to circumvent it. We also run based on the spirit of our rules. Make sense?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 14 May 2014 10:45 pm

As it is "derived" from somewhere else, it is no longer applicable to compare it with the original as the original intent may no longer even be there. The reason it's written is to keep non-residents and property owners from screwing legitimate Short Term Stay providers, e.g., hotel, Serviced Apartments and hostels. Nothing any more sinister that that. The government has always been pro business, and continues to be so.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 15 May 2014 12:29 am

Also explains why Easy Roomate can stay in business.

http://www...com.sg/

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 15 May 2014 6:49 am

That and the fact that they don't seem to be operating from Singapore or at least with a Singapore registered company.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 15 May 2014 9:58 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:That and the fact that they don't seem to be operating from Singapore or at least with a Singapore registered company.


They do have a .com.sg URL... and for that they need a Singapore company.

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Re: Airbnb legal in Singapore after all?

Postby maneo » Thu, 15 May 2014 10:32 am

jpatokal wrote:In other words, while the URA would dearly wish that you don't short-term rent out your property, they can't actually do anything unless somebody complains.

Does the wording really matter?
Can you really expect anyone to get away with this when complaining is one of the most popular pastimes?
:P

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 15 May 2014 11:26 am

I've put it to Admin to get a determination so we are all on the same page.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 15 May 2014 11:42 am

taxico wrote:your link http://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/fo ... 13-19.aspx gives an interesting read...

i guess if it doesn't get out of hand, then PAP may not enact new legislation.

mods: in light of this, is it okay to recommend short term leases in private property to forum members asking advice? or are we sticking to the party line?


Owners of private residential properties should similarly comply with the URA's guidelines if they wish to lease or sublet their residential units or rooms. Private residential properties are meant for longer-term stays of six months or more.

We recognise that home owners may occasionally invite their relatives or friends from overseas to stay with them when they visit Singapore. This is a reasonable extension of a home owner's use of his home, and is not considered renting or subletting of residential premises. However, home owners are advised that this should not result in any nuisance to neighbours.

The subletting guidelines are clearly stated on the URA's and HDB's websites, and are also conveyed to industry practitioners. The public may also call the URA on 6223-4811 or the HDB on 1800-225-5432 for any clarification on the rules.


That interesting read is quite clear. One paragraph is pertaining to the having of relatives/known guests for short durations who are visiting and goes on to say that they should be a nuisance to the other residents.

The URA guidelines are clearly stated, both in the preceding and following paragraph. But let's wait for Admin.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 15 May 2014 12:43 pm

'Should', is a very different term from 'must'. The latter is legally enforceable, the former is at most a suggestion of 'best practice'.

For example: RICS Code of Management Practice [UK management of property].

-----
Explanatory note:
'In this Code, whenever a statutory reference is given, there is a legal obligation to act in accordance with the statute. In this Code the word ‘must’ is used to indicate a legal obligation – breaches could lead to
civil and/or criminal action. The word ‘should’ is used to indicate good practice.'
http://www.leaseholdlife.info/reports/Rics_Code.pdf
-----

So, I can see some intent in what HDB are trying to say, but it leads to a wide-open grey area. Who would let to a guest who isn't 'known'? How do you define 'unknown'?

Just saying ...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 15 May 2014 1:12 pm

Common sense? :roll: If they are not paying, it not being let is it?

Once more, we're not in the UK.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 15 May 2014 1:39 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Common sense? :roll: If they are not paying, it not being let is it? Once more, we're not in the UK.


Ah yes: I can see a judge in court ruling 'I have reached my verdict based upon 'common sense' :lol:

What in those rules says a 'house guest' mustn't pay rent, or perhaps 'contribute to the bills'?

Of course we're not in the UK, but (again), like it or not SG law if founded upon 'UK' law. I mean for example I read a Tenancy Agreement and apart from the Diplomatic Clause, and the 'contribution to repairs' [Uniquely Singapore?]... it's identical to a 'UK' TA.

I can see where you're leaning, and I understand why. Just I can't see the legislation that supports your position. If someone can point out the black and white, it would be helpful. Meanwhile, for the sake of discussion, I feel it reasonable to highlight it's apparent absence.

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Postby jpatokal » Thu, 15 May 2014 3:12 pm

Given URA's stance, which is likely to get turned into a "statutory instrument" sooner or later, I don't think we should be recommending that anybody become an Airbnb (etc) host in Singapore, at least without reading this thread and understanding the thin rope they'll be walking on.

But for time being, I see no reason not to recommend staying at these places, since the risk is entirely the landlord's.

As for whether advertising for these places will be accepted here, that's Admin's call...
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