Few industries have avoided the impact of the “shared economy,” and the Corporate Housing sector is no different.The popularity of websites allowing private individuals to rent out entire homes or single bedrooms via booking websites, such as AirBnB, VRBO and others, has grown exponentially in recent years and regulations have been slow to respond.

The Parliament of Singapore took steps on Monday to address growing concerns regarding short-term rentals with a new law regulating the housing market. It is now illegal for home owners to rent out apartments and room for stays of less than six months, without prior approval from the nation’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

These booking sites had never been formally classified as “legal” or “illegal,” and many of these platforms operated in a grey area while officials decided a course of action. But as these sites became more popular in this undefined space, so did complaints regarding short-term housing. According to The Straits Times, short-term rentals were responsible for 377 complaints with the URA in 2015, but that figure grew 61 percent with 608 complaints received in 2016.

Lawrence Wong, Singapore's National Development Minister

Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s National Development Minister

This new law is designed to reduce these issues while government regulators continue to look for a more long-term solution. During debate on the bill, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong admitted that the URA is studying the option of creating a private homes category that will permit short-term rentals.

“URA had received feedback from a number of respondents… that there was scope to reduce the minimum period,” Wong told parliament. “So URA is studying this carefully, and will consider a possible reduction in the minimum rental time-frame.”

Many cities in Asia and around the world are regulating short-term home-sharing platforms the way they oversee the hotel industry. This strategy, and the inconsistencies they create, can lead to a confusing situation for professionals looking to housing during temporary assignment or business travel through the APAC region.

Katie Lim, Synergy Global Housing

Katie Lim, Synergy’s Director of Global Solutions

The new law passed this week in Singapore provides a little more clarity on what is acceptable for corporate housing. Synergy has always advocated a more traditional housing provider when entering the region because of the inconsistent quality standards that define third-party booking websites.

“Synergy’s commitment to duty of care and providing a world-class guest experience are defining elements of our service”, Katie Lim, Synergy’s Director of Global Solutions, said. “We offer our guests safe and comfortable accommodations so they can feel at home. We tailor these experiences across the Asia Pacific with the best properties in ideal locations to meet our guest’s needs.”

Synergy provides an exceptional guest experience in clean, well-appointed apartments and supports those units with a responsive customer service team that is familiar with Singapore and the rest of Asia’s housing market. This experience allows our guests the ability provide a quality stay every time.

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