Homestay guests are not ‘tenants’, Penang state assembly told

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 14 Oct 2020

GEORGE TOWN: The courts have decided that homestay guests are not tenants, says Penang executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo (pic).

Jagdeep told the state assembly here that two weeks ago, the Federal Court ruled in a judgment that terms like “host” and “guests” in the agreement used by homestay providers clearly showed that they intended 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 (JMBs) and management committees (MCs) 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 said the state is encouraging all JMBs and MCs in the state to lay down house rules.

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 homes out to 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 these residents are not affected by homestay operators.

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