Homestay guests are not ‘tenants’

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 15 Oct 2020

Jagdeep (left) says JMBs and MCs in the state are empowered to lay down house rules to prevent unit owners from operating homestay businesses, in response to an oral question from Syerleena.

A LANDLORD cannot evict a tenant without a court order, but homestay operators have such a right based on their agreements with their guests.

A landlord cannot set a limit on how many family members that tenants can have, but homestay operators do set such limits.

For such reasons, said state exco member Jagdeep Singh Deo, the courts have decided that homestay guests cannot be regarded by law as tenants.

Jagdeep said two weeks ago, Federal Court ruled in a judgment that terms like “host” and “guests” in the agreements used by homestay providers

clearly showed that they intend to use residential places to conduct the business of providing accommodation.

“We are glad for this judgment because it shows that the joint management bodies (JMB) and management committees (MC) of residential buildings are in the right to lay down house rules to prevent unit owners from renting out to short-term guests,” he said on Wednesday (Oct 14).

Answering an oral question from Syerleena Abdul Rashid (PH-Seri Delima) on the status of homestay businesses in Penang, Jagdeep told the state assembly yesterday that Penang has advised all JMBs and MCs in the state to

lay down house rules to prevent unit owners from operating homestay businesses.

He said they are empowered to do so by law and can fine unit owners up to RM200 each time they are found renting their units to homestay guests.

“Imagine if you are living in a stratified building and every day, people come in and out of your home area like it is a hotel.

“It’s not right. It’s not a business premises,” he said.

He said some JMBs, such as in Gurney Drive, had taken court action against such unit owners and won their cases.

The state government, he said, was finalising guidelines to help JMBs and MCs tackle the issue and preserve the security of their homes.

He said Penang is the state with the third highest number of high-rise residential buildings and as such the state will strive to ensure that the well-being of such residents are not affected by homestay operators.

For other residential areas, Jagdeep said the city councils in Penang can issue a notice under Section 27(2)(a) of Town and Country Planning Act 1976 for the owner to stop such activity and restore the property to its original state.

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