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How to spot an Airbnb unit in your condo (and whether you should tell!)

December 13, 2017
airbnb condo unit cover

Are your neighbours renting out their home via Airbnb? Here’s how to tell.


If you haven’t heard, two Singaporean men have recently been charged on renting out four condominium units for short-term accommodation on Airbnb. Whilst we know that the minimum lease for renting out private homes is three months, and that many private property owners are guilty of flouting this rule, this is the first time that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is officially enforcing the legislation.

With more and more private property owners renting out spare rooms (or even entire apartments!) on Airbnb, how do you spot Airbnb units in your condo? Read on to find out more!

Spotting an Airbnb unit in your condo

Airbnb doesn’t actually allow you to search by properties by inputting an exact address – the most you can do is to narrow your search down to a specific neighbourhood, and scroll through the listings. This will get pretty time-consuming, so instead of doing this, we’d recommend that you just keep a lookout for tourists or foreigners coming and going.

Are there tourists lingering around your condo?

If there are plenty of tourists entering and exiting your condominium, consider it a red flag. Make sure not to confuse your expat neighbours for tourists, though – if you spot a well-dressed foreigner carrying a briefcase and walking purposefully out of the condominium in the morning, chances are, that’s probably just a newly moved in neighbour on his way to work.

If you really think that your neighbour is renting out their place via Airbnb, here’s a sneaky method to confirm your suspicions. Approach the person (or people!) whom you think are Airbnb guests, and casually ask them if they’re your neighbour’s friends from out of town. They might just tell you that they’re on vacation, and renting the place.

Alternatively, get the condo security guard to look out for people lugging suitcases to and from a certain unit every few days.

Should you tell on your neighbour?

If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, and their Airbnb guests aren’t causing any trouble or disturbances, we can see why you’d be hesitant to whistle-blow.

But on the other hand, if you’ve encountered any occasions in which you feel that your safety has been compromised, or if these guests are unnecessarily rowdy and disruptive (swimming and laughing by the pool way past midnight), then no one will fault you for lodging a complaint. Before you escalate matters to the authorities, though, try and speak with your neighbour and hash things out. Give your neighbour a chance to make things right, and you might just be able to work out a win-win!

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