Thursday, 22 January 2015

To Be or Not to AirBnB

So URA is asking for feedback on short-term rental for residential properties as facilitated (and popularised) by apps like AirBnB.

Link to URA Feedback site (until 23 Feb 2015):

I value my privacy and I would not let out my home or a room for visitors. But that's me.

I think if my neighbours want to and need to (for the money), I think they should be allowed to.

I do not anticipate a parade of visitors trooping through my neighbourhood if short-term rental (hotel room rental) were allowed. If HDB allows, then ALL HDB flats would be allowed, and if there is sufficient supply, the visitors would be spread out throughout Singapore. And each room or flat would only be occupied by these visitors once in a while.

Unless the HDB flat is iconic like the Pinnacle@Duxton.

I would stay there at least once. Just for the experience of living in a million dollar flat.

I would suggest that HDB allow short term rental with a pre-approved limit of say 5 different tenants/tenant group per year (too low? too high?), and/or 20 days of stay per flat per year (again, too high, too low?). This would work out to about 4 days per tenant/tenant group.

If a particular flat is very popular and exceeds those pre-approved caps, then an email submission to inform the authorities (which one? URA) should be sent.

If neighbours and residents are inconvenienced, they should have a contact point to raise their complaints. (Again, URA?)

AirBnB travellers would be aware that they are staying in residences, and they do not (or should not) expect hotel-level services, conveniences, and liberties. Few if any would want to stay in an AirBnB if they are the party sort.

About 30% (or more) of the population may be like me, too private to rent out a room in our flat or apartment. Of the 70% (or less) who have the personality to do so, more than half will be unable to do so because flats are small or families are large. No room to spare.

And even if you have the personality, and the room to spare, you may not have the time or inclination. Or maybe that's just me over-thinking the preparation and work needed to make a room or flat rental-ready.

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