Illegal Daily Rental Apartments Taking Over Taipei

Illegal Daily Rental Apartments Taking Over Taipei
Photo Credit:翻攝自 airbnb

What you need to know

The Department of Information and Tourism of the Taipei City Government has already requested websites, like Airbnb, with rooms that don't have hotel license numbers to take the rooms off their websites. Regarding this, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je believes the illegal apartments have appeared because there are no cheap hotels in Taipei.

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Daily rental apartments hidden in the city have been popular among backpackers recently. But these apartments are mostly illegal and their safety isn’t guaranteed. Just recently tourists staying in a daily rental apartment in Ximenting were rushed to the hospital due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The Department of Information and Tourism of the Taipei City Government has already requested websites, like Airbnb, with rooms that don’t have hotel license numbers to take the rooms off their websites. Regarding this, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je believes the illegal apartments have appeared because there are no cheap hotels in Taipei.

UDN reports, due to the trend of traveling independently, the daily rental apartments in the Ximenting area have become popular among Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian tourists. People working in the industry say there are many requirements to acquiring a hotel license, such as fire escape and construction management regulations, and facilities such as escape ladders, parking spaces, a barrier free environment and so on. The threshold makes it hard for hostels to obtain a license; therefore they can only rent out daily rental apartments.

According to statistics from the Department of Information and Tourism in Taipei, 2,255 daily rental apartments are under investigation of Taipei city. 476 illegal hotels have already been seized this year, but only 59 tickets have been issued with the total amount of fines reaching NT$ 14.32 million (approximately US$ 436,415). But after the carbon monoxide poisoning incident, fire broke out in another resident and commercial building in Ximenting and nearly a hundred residents fled the site. This shows the safety of daily rental apartments in Taipei has become a problem.

ETtoday reports, commissioner of the Department of Information and Tourism in Taipei, Chien Yu-yen, says a preliminary investigation on Airbnb shows that there are over 4,200 listings in Taipei, and 95% of them are illegal daily rental apartments that aren’t licensed. The Taipei City government has already requested websites like Airbnb to remove the unlicensed rooms and calls on the central government to amend related laws as soon as possible.

Apple Daily reports, Chien points out many cases of “ghost apartments" are out there and with the government’s lack of manpower, it’s hard to catch them all, especially if they are listed on foreign websites such as Agoda and Airbnb. The department is promoting for cheap hotels to transform into hostels to attract backpackers.

Liberty Times reports, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je admits that the current median price for a one-night stay in a hotel room in Taipei City is around NT$ 2,800 to NT$ 3,000 (approximately US$ 85 to US$ 91). It only costs around NT$ 600 to NT$ 1,000 (approximately US$ 18 to US$ 30) to stay in a capsule hotel in other countries.

CNA reports, Ko stresses that there is currently no such place in Taipei and is why the issue of daily rental apartments can’t be solved. There are no cheap hotels to meet the needs of the market and backpackers can’t afford NT$ 3,000 (approximately US$ 91) a night. Ko says illegal daily rental apartments advertise on Apps such as Airbnb, but these are foreign companies so they can’t be banned. The government is still looking into how it can solve the issue.

Translated by Olivia Yang

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