KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 — A lawyer and the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) have confirmed that it is against the law for Sabah residents to lease their properties through Airbnb.
Borneo Post quoted Sabah Law Society lawyer Christopher Chin as saying that the onus was on the operator to ensure whether the operations of Airbnb in a state was deemed legal.
“When you lease your property on Airbnb, Airbnb will assume that you have done your homework and that you have established that Airbnb’s operations are legal in Kota Kinabalu,” he was quoted as saying.
The report said the service of Airbnb has been banned in major cities like Singapore, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam and even London for the same reason.
Chin explained that the method of the service was by way of license and not tenancy, adding that this allowed the owner of the property to enter and access the premises as and when he or she wanted.
“Airbnb is a commercial activity because it has the following characteristics, namely, short-term use, absence of exclusive possession, housekeeping services and the fact that it is subject to the Innkeepers’ Ordinance.
“For a building to qualify for Airbnb it must be designed for commercial use under the Development Plan (DP),” he said.
Chin pointed that such buildings must also comply with safety requirements by the Fire Department.
Sally Edward Ghani from DBKK’s Building Plan Section said the City Hall will be looking at ways to set guidelines for Airbnb to operate in the state, but did not elaborate on details.
“At the moment, Airbnb is illegal in Sabah. We cannot establish who is the operator for Airbnb. We do not have the list,” she was quoted as saying.