Singapore Airbnb hosts get hefty fines for illegal letting in first case in the city state

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In the country’s first such case, two Singaporean Airbnb hosts were fined 60,000 Singapore dollars ($45,800) each for violating the country’s rules on short-term property letting introduced last year.

The two men, 35-year-old Terence Tan En Wei and 34-year-old Yao Song Liang, 34, pleaded guilty for letting four units in a condominium for less than six months without permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Private homes in Singapore are subject to a minimum rental period of three consecutive months, while for public housing, home to about 80 per cent of Singapore’s residents, it is six months.

In their business, the duo earned at least 19,000 Singapore dollars from four listings over five weeks last year. However, as former real estate agents – their licenses have since been revoked – they also should have known that short-term stays were illegal, the judge said.

Tan and Yao also took steps to avoid detection, including evading suspicious security guards by bringing their guests to a completely different unit.

Airbnb did not react to the ruling immediately. In March this year, Airbnb said it was willing to make some concessions on short-term rentals in Singapore in an attempt to appease concerns of the government. 

The home-sharing platform is facing increasing legal pressure in various countries and restrictions on short-term lending due to the commercial nature of such a business and tax issues. In many cities, hosts must register with the government and obtain a permit or license.

European cities that have enacted strict regulations on Airbnb, and those which have imposed heavy fines for violations of these laws include Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin. In some US states, there have also been significant legal controversies involving Airbnb.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the country’s first such case, two Singaporean Airbnb hosts were fined 60,000 Singapore dollars ($45,800) each for violating the country’s rules on short-term property letting introduced last year.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the country’s first such case, two Singaporean Airbnb hosts were fined 60,000 Singapore dollars ($45,800) each for violating the country’s rules on short-term property letting introduced last year.

The two men, 35-year-old Terence Tan En Wei and 34-year-old Yao Song Liang, 34, pleaded guilty for letting four units in a condominium for less than six months without permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Private homes in Singapore are subject to a minimum rental period of three consecutive months, while for public housing, home to about 80 per cent of Singapore’s residents, it is six months.

In their business, the duo earned at least 19,000 Singapore dollars from four listings over five weeks last year. However, as former real estate agents – their licenses have since been revoked – they also should have known that short-term stays were illegal, the judge said.

Tan and Yao also took steps to avoid detection, including evading suspicious security guards by bringing their guests to a completely different unit.

Airbnb did not react to the ruling immediately. In March this year, Airbnb said it was willing to make some concessions on short-term rentals in Singapore in an attempt to appease concerns of the government. 

The home-sharing platform is facing increasing legal pressure in various countries and restrictions on short-term lending due to the commercial nature of such a business and tax issues. In many cities, hosts must register with the government and obtain a permit or license.

European cities that have enacted strict regulations on Airbnb, and those which have imposed heavy fines for violations of these laws include Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin. In some US states, there have also been significant legal controversies involving Airbnb.

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