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.
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.
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”.
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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