Woman showing Airbnb logo on mobile phone with baggage in the background. Airbnb is an online marketplace offering people a service to rent short-term lodging from Shutterstock.com

Two Airbnb hosts fined as first cases to be prosecuted under regulations introduced in 2017

The court fined two Singaporean Airbnb hosts for unauthorised short-term letting a total of S$60,000 each on Tuesday (3 April) in the first such cases under the country's rules on short-term property letting introduced last year.

The two men are 35-year-old Terence Tan En Wei and 34-year-old Yao Song Liang, 34.

They pleaded guilty in February for letting four units in a condominium for less than six months without permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). They were charged in December last year.

The two defendants faced a fine of up to S$200,000 per charge.

Prosecutors sought fines of S$20,000 per charge for a total of S$80,000 for each of them. While, defence lawyers sought fines of S$5,000 per charge.

Judge Kenneth Choo fined the two hosts S$15,000 per charge each, saying that the fines would serve as a signal to deter others from pursuing such business to make a quick profit.

According to URA, private homes in Singapore are subject to a minimum rental period of three consecutive months, while for public housing, home to about 80 per cent of Singapore's residents, it is six months.

The authority has said it would conduct a public consultation to seek feedback on a proposed regulatory framework for short-term letting.

Last month, Airbnb said it was willing to make some concessions on short-term rentals in Singapore in an attempt to appease concerns of the government.

The lawyer of two defendants, Wong Soo Chih, stated that they paid their fines on the spot.