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We arrived at our Airbnb booking in Singapore only to find it was illegal

We arrived at our Airbnb booking in Singapore only to find it was illegal

Old Aug 10, 17, 8:42 am
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We arrived at our Airbnb booking in Singapore only to find it was illegal

We arrived at our Airbnb booking in Singapore only to find it was illegal

Earlier this year we booked a two-night stay in Singapore through Airbnb. All communications with the owner were via the Airbnb website. However, on arrival large posters in the lift made it clear that Airbnb short lets were illegal in this building.

We eventually agreed with the owner that we would sleep in the apartment free of charge (it was late and we had been travelling all day) and find alternative accommodation in the morning. Our payment of 255 was refunded by Airbnb, but that does not compensate for the fact that we spent more than planned on a last-minute hotel.

Incidentally, the original Airbnb account under which we had booked had been closed after a guest posted a review stating that they, too, had learned the rental was illegal upon arrival, even noting a police visit.
Please see:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/20...ing-short-lets

Cheers & Safe Travels.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 8:21 pm
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That is an old post, and the information shared is totally wrong

It IS a country-wide legality issue in Singapore. You are not allowed to rent any properties lesser than a period less than 6 months. The law states when signing a lease, you need a minimum 6 months lease. But airbnb try to play with the rules saying Singapore never stated you can't rent lesser than 6 months, only that you have to rent more than 6 months. But currently, a new law has come into effect making airbnb illegal.

And those with rent out their place are usually tenants and not actual owners. They do so too even when they knew it was illegal. That is because Singapore rules punishes the actual house owners instead of the ones who rents them out illegally. They know they can get off scot-free when caught, and just run off with the money.
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Old Aug 11, 17, 5:51 am
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Originally Posted by Kelvin L View Post

It IS a country-wide legality issue in Singapore. You are not allowed to rent any properties lesser than a period less than 6 months. The law states when signing a lease, you need a minimum 6 months lease. But airbnb try to play with the rules saying Singapore never stated you can't rent lesser than 6 months, only that you have to rent more than 6 months. But currently, a new law has come into effect making airbnb illegal.

And those with rent out their place are usually tenants and not actual owners. They do so too even when they knew it was illegal. That is because Singapore rules punishes the actual house owners instead of the ones who rents them out illegally. They know they can get off scot-free when caught, and just run off with the money.
Thanks Kelvin L, indeed while the report itself is a bit older, the issues surrounding the case are still pretty much relevant today.

Equal thanks for your additional info provided, that's appreciated and well received.

Cheers & Safe Travels.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 9:00 am
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We eventually agreed with the owner that we would sleep in the apartment free of charge (it was late and we had been travelling all day)
but that does not compensate for the fact that we spent more than planned on a last-minute hotel.
Did you try to claim back the difference from the owner? A short hint that you may want to contact the authorities, may increase the owner's motivation to pay the difference.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 10:47 pm
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IME 255 British pounds should be sufficient for a hotel room for one night in Singapore unless one insists on one of the very top hotels or a suite.
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Old Sep 1, 17, 9:00 am
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This was brought to my attention a couple of months ago via a TripAdvisor thread after I had booked an Airbnb a couple of months prior. I immediately called Airbnb (Who still actually tried to tell me not to worry about it and that my reservation was perfectly fine) to cancel my reservation and reimburse me for both the reservation and any fees to which they did.

Both Airbnb and these Home Owners are well aware it illegal to rent out short term rentals, but do it anyway in hopes they don't get caught and can pocket a few bucks. Obviously I would have preferred to stay in the apartment that I rented, but wasn't willing to roll the dice since I'm going on a high volume week (Grand Prix) and I guess that the enforcement agencies in Singapore will be on high alert during that time.
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Old Sep 2, 17, 10:33 am
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Airbnb is illegal in many cities / countries and IMO Airbnb is being very disingenuous by continuing to allow listings and pushing the legal implications onto whoever posts the listing.

It's unfortunate for the OP but I avoid Airbnb precisely because it requires so much research and finger-crossing as to whether you will actually have somewhere to sleep upon arrival.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 1:36 am
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is this thread still alive?

I guess I will be facing similar issues for my upcoming Japan airbnb in August.

There is a new ruling and hosts are to register some kind of license by June.

I did my part and contact their support and was told that the service fee cannot be refund at the moment.

It is alright to take a wait-and-see approach.

I have a hotel booking ready, anyway.
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Old Apr 27, 18, 10:00 am
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It's legality is questionable in Thailand, following intense lobbying by the hotels. My condo building has issued pretty firm instructions to owners not to rent this way.
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Old May 17, 18, 9:48 pm
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early aug 2017 >
Originally Posted by Kelvin L View Post
not allowed to rent any properties lesser than a period less than 6 months.
late jun 2017 >
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has lowered the minimum stay duration to three months, from the current six months.
but obviously main idea (no nightly or even monthly rental) doesnt change
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Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 17, 18 at 10:15 pm
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Old Dec 5, 18, 12:31 pm
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Here in Malta, the tourism authorities are asking the hosts to provide the license number on the listing.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 7:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Berrysurprise View Post
is this thread still alive?

I guess I will be facing similar issues for my upcoming Japan airbnb in August.

There is a new ruling and hosts are to register some kind of license by June.

I did my part and contact their support and was told that the service fee cannot be refund at the moment.

It is alright to take a wait-and-see approach.

I have a hotel booking ready, anyway.
As long as owner has registered and applied to the government as renter for short term basis, it is fine.

In fact, this rule has been implemented in Japan for many years, but Japan government not really enforced it until early this year. All the time when I visit Japan and using Airbnb, first thing I will ask to the owner if he has registered for short term rental or not
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