Airbnb host in Singapore fined $845,000

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Airbnb has become a popular and often cheaper alternative to hotels for many travelers.

Singapore:

A Singaporean man has been fined $845,000 for providing illegal short-term rentals on Airbnb and other platforms, authorities said on Tuesday, a record sentence for the offense in the city-state.

Housing is a sensitive issue in Singapore, where most live in apartments and it is illegal to rent accommodation for less than three consecutive months.

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Simon Chan, 57, is said to have rented 14 apartments and sublet them for short-term accommodation to local and foreign guests.

The former realtor advertised the apartments on Airbnb, HomeAway and other platforms, local media reported.

A court on Monday fined him 1.16 million Singapore dollars ($845,000) – the highest penalty ever imposed for short-term rentals – and he will be jailed if he does not pay, sources confirmed. responsible.

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His girlfriend was reportedly fined S$84,000 for helping him.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority, which oversees urban planning in Singapore, has warned that such unauthorized short-term rentals with frequent guest turnover “change the residential character of a property”.

The body said it “will continue to take strong enforcement action against offenders in short-term accommodation…in order to safeguard the interest of the community”.

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Airbnb has become a popular and often cheaper alternative to hotels for many travelers.

But the company has faced growing criticism that it is worsening housing shortages and squeezing the long-term rental industry, with cities including New York, Miami and Berlin cracking down on service.

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