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Airbnb as an investment option?

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Airbnb as an investment option?

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 04 Nov 2013 7:30 pm

I know we've discussed Airbnb in Singapore before and have come to the conclusion it's not legal, but there are still lots of units available and posted:

https://www.airbnb.com.sg/s/singapore?source=bb

This article about buying a place just to Airbnb it likely isn't practical in Singapore due to the murky legality, but it is an interesting idea for places where property is cheaper but is popular with tourists. Maybe Penang or something?

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/11/0 ... rbnb-heres

So anyway, I guess two things for the thread. How do these people get away with this in Singapore, and second what are your opinions on this as an investment opportunity (assuming a location with a potentially profitable return)?

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Postby Wd40 » Mon, 04 Nov 2013 9:41 pm

Can you elaborate how did you come to the conclusion that it is illegal? Especially private property? How is it different from a Serviced Apartment?

Most IT contracting companies have rented condos and even HDBs and bring FTs from other countries and let them stay there for upto one week and call it as company guesthouse and serve as company provided temporary accommodation. So that should also be illegal then?

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Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 04 Nov 2013 10:03 pm

In this thread, for one:
ftopic98248.html&highlight=airbnb

SMS posts links, one of which has this:

In general, owners of both private residential properties and HDB flats should not sublet their premises on a short-term basis to tourists, as this will lead to high turnover of occupants and high human traffic, which could cause nuisance and safety concerns to the neighbours.

Under the HDB's terms and conditions for subletting, the minimum period of subletting must not be less than six months. Subletting of HDB flats or bedrooms for short-term stay to tourists is not allowed.

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.


A Service Apartment is licensed to be one. It's essentially a hotel. Your other example is interesting. I'm not sure where it would fall under the law. But Singapore being Singapore, where businesses (and money) talks, I think their violations would be selectively ignored. Kind of like when the Chinese or Ang Moh jay walk they're never bothered.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 04 Nov 2013 10:35 pm

zzm9980 wrote: Kind of like when the Chinese or Ang Moh jay walk they're never bothered.


Not quite. I know I got fined along with around 15 other mixed local races when we stepped off the curb before the green man crossing at the AMK MRT one morning. They rounded up the whole lot of us. $50 or 70 fine, I forgot which as it was a couple of years ago. :(

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Postby PNGMK » Mon, 04 Nov 2013 11:11 pm

The Singapore Hotel Association is the driving force behind the URA rules....

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 3:18 am

zzm9980 wrote:In this thread, for one:
ftopic98248.html&highlight=airbnb

SMS posts links, one of which has this:

In general, owners of both private residential properties and HDB flats should not sublet their premises on a short-term basis to tourists, as this will lead to high turnover of occupants and high human traffic, which could cause nuisance and safety concerns to the neighbours.

Under the HDB's terms and conditions for subletting, the minimum period of subletting must not be less than six months. Subletting of HDB flats or bedrooms for short-term stay to tourists is not allowed.

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.


A Service Apartment is licensed to be one. It's essentially a hotel. Your other example is interesting. I'm not sure where it would fall under the law. But Singapore being Singapore, where businesses (and money) talks, I think their violations would be selectively ignored. Kind of like when the Chinese or Ang Moh jay walk they're never bothered.


Thanks for the links, yeah, indeed its pretty black and white that its illegal.

Regarding jaywalking, Serangoon road is also a big exception :) There is heavy police patrolling there, yet to no avail.

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Postby Fortan » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 9:02 am

I've been considering this for Bangkok. Massive potential there and the prices for condo units are reasonable.

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 10:44 am

Fortan wrote:I've been considering this for Bangkok. Massive potential there and the prices for condo units are reasonable.


The concern I have (and echoed by those I know who have used AirBnb) is that you need to have a local "house keeper" or something you trust to be able to assist if there is a problem, and to clean between visits.

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Postby PrimroseHill » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 11:12 am

so, you buy an entire unit then how you advertise to let it? Or let it out room by room?
I am puzzled by this

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 12:18 pm

PrimroseHill wrote:so, you buy an entire unit then how you advertise to let it? Or let it out room by room?
I am puzzled by this


You can do either. There is one in SG where it is a landed house near Joo Chiat and Dunman where they're renting a room, $49 a night. Given they own a house over there they cannot possibly be hurting for money.

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Postby PrimroseHill » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 12:47 pm

I had a look, it is a bit like holidaylettings.co.uk whereby it is rated on tripadvisor as well.

I wonder how the reviews and feedback system will work. What happens if the tenant doesn't leave or he/she trash the place?

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Postby Barnsley » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 1:06 pm

Have used airbnb here and in Paris , and it was spot on.

The place in Paris was two bed /two bathroom split level flat, so the two couples could have a little bit of space if need be.

Miles cheaper than staying in a hotel.
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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 3:35 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/nyreg ... 31104&_r=0

New York city is trying to make it illegal but users are fighting back. My friend found out that his tenant had been subletting his apartment on weekends :o . Not hard to get clients if you are located in an expensive and touristy area.

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Postby Fortan » Tue, 05 Nov 2013 4:19 pm

I remember when I was living in Basel in Switzerland. There were two periods of the year when there were huge fairs in Basel and all hotels would be sold out for a year in advance. I heard about people renting their own apartments out for a week at a time, going on holiday to Spain in a resort for the money and still having a profit when they came back.

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Postby earthfriendly » Fri, 08 Nov 2013 2:58 am

http://therapidian.org/share-airbnb-hos ... 1481237582

I see more cities cracking down on shared-economy like Airbnb, as the pie gets bigger.


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