Melaka govt wants to protect rights of condo buyers, regulate Airbnb

MELAKA: The state government wants to protect the rights of condominium buyers and regulate Airbnb as well as the financial impact of online rentals in the local hospitality industry.

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali said the government has to regulate the ambiguous promotion of condominiums as residential properties but the property masterplans are actually approved as commercial projects.

"Some developers market commercial properties as residential and this has caused confusion, especially among first-time buyers," he said in an interview here on Friday (Jan 22).

Sulaiman said such commercial developments are meant to attract investments for Airbnb and short-term rentals.

"However, there was an oversupply of Airbnb rooms in the state that had also posed stiff competition to hoteliers," he said.

Sulaiman said first-time buyers may not be aware that commercial properties impose higher utility tariffs, assessments and quit rents.

He said condominiums are actually residential properties and must provide protection to homeowners through Schedule H (for building intended for subdivision into parcels) and Schedule I (for build-then-sell stratified properties).

Sulaiman said both Schedules H and I are in pursuant to the Housing Development (control and licensing) Regulations 1989 (amended 2015).

He also urged developers of ongoing condominium projects to place efforts in changing their status from commercial to residential after fulfilling criteria for conversion.

"In a nutshell, buyers must not be misled and the state government wants to protect the buyers apart from hoteliers," he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Melaka Chapter’s honorary secretary Jason Bak thanked the Chief Minister for highlighting the impact of condominiums that are being turned into Airbnb.

He said hopefully, upcoming condominium projects are required to be solely for residential purposes.

He said that Airbnb and unregulated homestay services are causing a big blow to the local hospitality industry.

“We need the state government to act fast as many hotels including the budget ones are the most affected,” he said.

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