The Taipei City Government is cracking down on owners of short-term rental units, including Airbnb listings, who have been offering their units for home quarantine or isolation stays, amid concern that such rentals could be a loophole in disease-prevention efforts.
As of Sept. 22, people under a home isolation or quarantine order can only stay at quarantine hotels, at home or at a place offered by another person free of charge, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) told a news conference yesterday.
Owners of short-term rental units who rent to people under a home isolation or quarantine order would be fined between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000, and the owner’s name and the address of their accommodation would be made public, she said.
“People have to be responsible to whom they are offering their houses, so the fines would be aimed at the home owners,” she said.
While there might be cases of renters who are subleasing their units for short-term stays, it would be the owner of the unit whose name would be publicized if a reported breach is confirmed, she added.
After the Central Epidemic Command Center on Aug. 19 announced that people under quarantine can only stay at “quarantine hotels” certified by local governments, the Taipei City Government on Aug. 21 released a list of non-quarantine hotels in the city that had provided accommodation to people in quarantine.
As of Tuesday last week, the city had found 81 housing units that have accommodated people in quarantine more than five times, Huang said.
Some of the cases might involve company dormitories or people who have had several family members return from overseas, so the city would check the homes, but there have also been reports by borough wardens about a home that accommodated more than 10 people under quarantine, she said.
Short-term rental suites or non-quarantine hotels might not be able to perform the proper cleaning and disinfection required for quarantine facilities, in addition to bringing together a mix of residents and those under quarantine, which might increase the risk of cross infections, Huang said.
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