Singapore court imposes hefty fines for Airbnb rentals

SINGAPORE — A court in Singapore on Tuesday fined two men 60,000 Singapore dollars ($45,800) each for breaching laws banning short-term rentals by renting out condominium units through online services such as Airbnb, Craigslist and HomeAway.

Terence Tan En Wei and Yao Songlaing had pleaded guilty at the State Court in February to four charges of illegally renting out four units last year, in the first case of its kind in the Southeast Asian island nation.

Defense lawyer Wong Soo Chih said prosecutors had requested a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars ($15,267) per charge but the judge set it at 15,000 Singapore dollars ($11,450) per charge.

Offering short stays in private homes is illegal in Singapore, where most residents live in subsidized public housing. The minimum rental period had been six months, but has since been reduced to three months. Officials have said the rule minimizes disturbances to neighbors.

Despite these limitations, Airbnb continues to thrive in the city-state, where the platform has over 8,000 active listings. Last year, 350,000 guests stayed in Airbnb apartments in Singapore, according to the company.

Airbnb said in a statement after the sentencing that it will work with Singapore's authorities to allow the fair use of home sharing.

"We believe that an individual should, minimally, be able to share the private residence that they live in; and that no individual should be criminalized for sharing their home," said the statement from Mich Goh, Airbnb's head of public policy for Southeast Asia.

Describing the issue as "complex and multifaceted," the statement said the company looks forward to clarifying the rules through an upcoming public consultation and supports "a framework that allows responsible and sustainable home sharing to thrive to Singapore's immediate and long-term benefit."

Related News

Official: Indonesian family that joined IS now in...

Aug 11, 2017

Indonesia's deputy foreign minister says a Jakarta family who joined the Islamic State group in...

Indonesia clinic gives relief to Muslims with...

Aug 16, 2017

A clinic in Indonesia is offering laser removal of tattoos for free, providing relief to Muslims...

Indonesia president: Spread wealth, protect...

Aug 16, 2017

Indonesia's president vows a fairer distribution of the nation's wealth and a renewed commitment to...

Myanmar faces anger from Muslim world over...

Sep 4, 2017

A Nobel laureate and Muslim nations in Asia criticized Myanmar's persecution of its Rohingya Muslim...

Indonesia raises Bali volcano alert to highest...

Sep 22, 2017

Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano on the tourist...

Bali volcano eruption fears spark exodus of more...

Sep 24, 2017

More than 35,000 people have fled a menacing volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali,...

Sign up now!