Want to use AirBnB and Roomorama to rent out your private property? Private property owners will not be able to offer their places for short term rentals any longer, according to a new legislation passed into law yesterday in parliament.

Although short term rentals of private property were already prohibited under guidelines by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), with owners who flout such rules facing up to $200,000 in fines or a jail for up to a year, new powers will be granted to URA officers to allow them to take enforcement actions. The penalties will remain the same going forward.

The new powers include the ability to ask a person who might have knowledge of a violation to attend interviews and question them. They will also be able tor ask for information or documents relevant to the violation, take video evidence on site and effect forced entry into private properties.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong told parliament says that the act was proposed “as there is a need to safeguard the living environment of residents in the neighbourhood”.

“Over the past year, URA has already seen a 60 per cent rise in complaints from home-owners about breaches of this rule in their residential properties. The complaints related to public nuisance or even safety concerns for their families,” said Mr Wong. “So we must enforce the current rules, and make sure the issue does not worsen further.”

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MOH/NEA should help to improve our lives and not make it any worse.