Reuters

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A Singapore court fined two Airbnb hosts a total of S$60,000 ($45,800) each on Tuesday for unauthorized short-term letting in the first such case under the city-state's rules on short-term property rentals introduced last year.

 

The two men had pleaded guilty to letting four flats in a condominium for less than six months without permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

 

They faced a fine of up to S$200,000 per offense under Singapore law. Prosecutors sought fines of S$20,000 per charge for a total of S$80,000 for each of the two defendants. Defense lawyers sought fines of S$5,000 per charge.

 

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

 

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

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

Wong Soo Chih, the two hosts' lawyer, said they paid their fines on the spot.

Airbnb did not have an immediate comment.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Nick Macfie)