Taipei bans short-term rentals for quarantine purposes

Taiwan: The mayor of Taipei Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) has announced that the city will no longer allow the rental of private premises for quarantining.

The decision was made due to concern that the practice could lead to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Landlords found renting out apartments for the purposes of quarantine will be fined between NT$3,000 (£78.59) to NT$15,000 (£392.96). In addition the government has committed to publishing the names and addresses of offending landlords to alert the community of heightened risk.

Taiwan has recorded 494 cases of COVID-19 thus far, the majority of which, 402, are classified as imported. The country has been exempted from a UK quarantine due to its low numbers.

A mandatory quarantine period after international travel has been in place in Taiwan since March 14, with arrivals advised to quarantine in hotel rooms designated by the government. The city currently has around 400 available rooms for that purpose.

At the moment, approximately 81 residences are being used as quarantine for those arriving overseas, according to the Taipei Department of Civil Affairs. Many of these are offered out to several members of the same family returning from overseas.

In a press conference, Huang said: “There certainly have been cases in which a large number of people from the same family have returned to Taiwan.”

Regulations currently allow for people to lend their apartments out to friends and relatives for quarantining. City officials have committed to investigating any of these potential listings in order to determine if there is a connection between the landlords and the tenant.

Huang added: “If a landlord is unable to clearly establish their relationship with the person in quarantine, then we will list that landlord as a possible offender.”

Hotels have also been criticised for allowing guests still under quarantine restrictions. Investigations have uncovered 38 hotels which are not a part of the government’s programme accepting recently arrived guests.