Two Singapore Airbnb hosts plead guilty to unauthorized short-term rentals

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Leedon Condominium in Singapore December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Two Singaporeans on trial for unauthorized short-term rentals posted on Airbnb pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday in the first such cases under the city-state’s rules on short-term property rentals introduced last year.

The pair have been charged with renting four units in a condominium for less than six months without permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore and face a fine of up to 200,000 Singapore dollars ($152,000 ) per offence.

Prosecutors, however, sought fines of S$20,000 per count for a total of S$80,000 for each of the two defendants, who pleaded guilty in court. Defense attorneys have sought fines of $5,000 per count.

The Singapore government has pledged to seek public comment on a regulatory framework covering such rentals after the two hosts’ cases prompted Airbnb to argue that the existing framework was “untenable”.

Airbnb, founded in 2008 in San Francisco, connects people wishing to rent all or part of their accommodation to temporary hosts.

The company has clashed with hoteliers and authorities in cities including New York, Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris, which are limiting short-term rentals in some cases.

Critics blame Airbnb for exacerbating housing shortages and evicting low-income residents.

Written by Jack Kim; Editing by Paul Tait

Comments are closed.