SINGAPORE – A 57-year-old man was fined a record $1,158,000 on Monday (May 30) for offences related to unauthorised short-term accommodation.
Simon Chan Chai Wan had illegally provided short-term rents in 14 private residential properties to local and foreign guests through platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway.
His accomplice, Zhao Jing, 43, was fined $84,000 for aiding him in carrying out the offences.
The properties included units in International Plaza, Robinson Suites, Claremont, Centrepoint Apartments, The Abode at Devonshire and Caribbean at Keppel Bay.
Zhao and Chan, who are a couple, were licensed real estate agents at the time of the offences, court documents said.
They were the directors of two companies, HTM Solutions and HTM Management, and Chan is the former director of SNS Infotech Global.
Chan would enter into tenancy agreements with the units’ owners using the three companies as corporate vehicles, and sublet the units for short-term accommodations on the platforms.
Chan had persuaded Zhao to be the sole tenant for two of the units. She also helped Chan to illegally sublet two other units.
From June 30, 2017, to July 2018, Chan’s total revenue was $1,254,907.78.
He paid Zhao a monthly salary of $4,000 for helping him. Zhao would have received $52,000 for the period of the offences.
If they are unable to pay the fine, Chan would have to serve a jail term of 95 weeks, and 12 weeks for Zhao.
In a statement on Monday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said all private residential properties rented out for accommodation are subject to a minimum stay of three consecutive months.
“Property owners should also exercise due diligence to ensure that their properties are not used by their tenants for unauthorised purposes,” it said.
“Unauthorised short-term accommodation with frequent turnover of transient guests not only changes the residential character of a property, but also causes dis-amenities to neighbouring residents.”