Airbnb seeking agreement with Malaysia over rental cap

Malaysia: Airbnb is seeking an agreement with Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC) and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture over limits on short-term rentals in the country. 

A statement from the company last year said that caps would hinder the growth of short-term accommodation in the country.

Currently, restrictions exist on the platform for stays between 90 and 180 days. Airbnb hopes that these new meetings can express how caps and additional red tape affect hosts and interfere with growth in the Malaysian economy.

Mike Orgill, Airbnb Asia-Pacific director of public policy, said to TheEdgeMarket: “As we talk with MPC, one of the things we want to make sure is we get those settings right for industry players. When we look at the MPC guidelines overall, it looks supportive of what has been put in place, especially for seniors and the B40 (bottom 40 income group) community to continue to participate.

“But there are elements in it that we would continue to work with industry players and the government to ensure that the regulatory settings are appropriate as they roll them out.”

According to research from Oxford Economics, Airbnb has been a significant factor in Malaysia’s tourism industry growth, with the platform contributing RM3.9 billion directly and with Airbnb guests spending a cumulative RM11.8 billion. The study, commissioned by Airbnb, hoped to identify how the platform’s impact has grown from 2015 to 2019.

The report also highlighted how Airbnb could impact tourism post-coronavirus. The flexibility of the model could help create supply for underserved markets, especially those dislocated by the virus.

Groups like the Malaysian Budget Hotel Association noted in February that the market’s lack of regulations could be harmful to citizens. In the run up to additional possible legislation that same month, the national government lodged complaints from hoteliers and condominium owners over the platform’s role in Malaysian society.