Faced with a recurring issue on the island, Penang is now swearing off all homestays indefinitely just ahead of the Labour Day and Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.
Right before the long week of holidays, Penang state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo has announced plans to ban all short-term rental homes, better known as homestays, in both landed and high-rise properties.
Vowing to put the ban into action “soon,” the reason for this strict implementation is to “battle annoyances” caused by holidaymakers in apartments, condominiums, and residential neighbourhoods.
Although the starting date for the ban has yet to be decided, the state government has agreed to execute the plan, allegedly based on numerous complaints from various residents’ societies.
“Whether people like it or not, we will be firm on this. Housing areas are for residents. If you are holidaying, go to a hotel,” said Jagdeep Singh Deo.
He explained that guidelines concerning the ban will help empower management bodies of apartments, condominiums, or any stratified properties to take action against errant homeowners who still provide short-term rentals.
“We are probably the first state to do this. Another set of guidelines would also be introduced for landed properties, pending legal issues that we would have to sort out,” he added.
Jagdeep also said with the state having the third-highest number of stratified properties, the guidelines would serve as a safety net and social security for residents, and under federal law, joint-management bodies (JMBs), or management committees (MCs) of stratified properties (typically apartments and condominiums) can introduce homestay bans.
This could be imposed via a property’s House Rules as allowed under the Strata Management Act 2013 that dictates the JMB or MC can impose fines of up to RM200 on those who flout the rules.
As for property owners who want to make extra income through homestay rentals, they will now have to jump through very high hoops to get approval needing at least 75% of the building residents to give their consent that must be recorded by the JMB or MC in an annual general meeting.
Mich Goh, who is the Airbnb head of public policy, Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan has responded to the ban by reminding the Penang government that they would now be derailing economic recovery efforts by many on the island struggling to make ends meet.
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