Singaporeans plead guilty to unauthorized Airbnb rentals
Singapore – 27 February 2018 –
Two Singaporeans on trial for unauthorised short-term rentals posted on Airbnb pleaded guilty in the first such cases under the city-state’s rules on short-term property letting introduced last year, Reuters reported.
The two men were charged for letting four units in a condominium for less than six months without permission from Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and face a fine of up to S$200,000 (US$152,000) per offence.
Prosecutors however requested fines of S$20,000 per charge for a total of S$80,000 for each of the two defendants, who spoke in court to plead guilty to the charges. Defence lawyers sought fines of S$5,000 per charge.
The Singapore government has pledged to seek public feedback on a regulatory framework covering such rentals after the cases of the two hosts prompted a plea from Airbnb that the existing framework was untenable.
Airbnb, founded in 2008, 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 driving out lower-income residents.