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Tensions rise in Singapore suburb over Airbnb rentals

KUALA LUMPUR (July 13): It is the in thing to do these days. Rent a residential property in a place you are visiting via Airbnb or HomeAway.

Or more precisely, they are called short-term rental services.

Hotels are so last year. So much better to get into the culture of a country by living in one of the people’s homes. But what happens when the same people get all worked up by your presence?   

Some cities are already taking action against such rental. AFP reported that both Berlin and Barcelona are not fans of such rentals.

A law came into force in Berlin on May 1 banning property owners and tenants from renting out whole apartments or houses for short-term holiday lets. Later, a court even threw out a challenge against the German capital over the ban, just to make things clear beyond a doubt.

Barcelona recently announced a 20-fold hike to €600,000 euros (RM2.64 million) in the maximum fine that can be levied against home rental sites such as Airbnb if they promote illegal accommodation.

And from the city that started it all, San Francisco is battling Airbnb in the courts in an attempt to rein in the short-term rental services provider.

Meanwhile, the angst against such short-term rental services has spread down south to Singapore, seriously ruffling some local feathers.

The TODAY daily reported that a Madam Wendy Ng, 52, was so annoyed by the “the increasingly frequent comings-and-goings at the four-storey terraced house next to hers” in Penaga Place, Sembawang, that she ordered a private eye to check things out!

Ng, who manages her own air-conditioning company, even “cancelled or postponed all of her firm’s jobs over the last two months to deal with a problem that she said began about two years ago”, the daily reported.

Apparently, the constant flow of guests and “taxis stopping near her home gave rise to concerns over security”.

She even brought her case to the Member of Parliament of her constituency, who also happened to be the city state’s transport minister!

TODAY also reported that she said the private eye assignment set her back by “a few thousand” dollars, but she was willing to part with this “expensive” sum.

The daily also said that Madam Ng filed a petition imploring the authorities to take “immediate action against the errant owner”.

Meanwhile, as for current regulations over such rentals in Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority “state that it is illegal for private-home owners to lease their properties for fewer than six months”.

Not sure how much you will have to pay a month for your home? Check out our mortgage calculator here.

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