If you were born and bred in Singapore, there’s a good chance you’ve never ever had to think about looking for accommodation in your own country, save for the usual balloting for a flat before tying the knot.
But thanks to the increasing diversity of the mix of people on the island and a growing number of locals eschewing the usual graduate-work-marry-buy HDB path, there’s been a rising demand for short-term accommodation.
Here are some situations where you might find yourself in need of a temporary home:
- You’re finally renovating your home and need somewhere to crash while works are ongoing.
- You’re a renter and need accommodation in between leases.
- You got kicked out of your parents’ flat (doesn’t sound nice but let’s face it, it does happen here).
With more and more old folks renting out rooms in their property for extra income, once you leave your parents’ home you may no longer have access to your childhood bedroom.
Landblords in Singapore are officially allowed to rent out their properties for no less than 6 months a year, although many condo owners do it on the sly. Still, it makes it more difficult to find a place to stay for a short period. Here are some relatively affordable options for someone who needs a home for anything from a few days to a few months.
If the period you plan to stay away from home is flexible (such as when you need to renovate your home), you might be able to get a housesitting gig from someone in Singapore who needs their home, and often their pets, looked after while they globetrot.
Housesitting basically lets you enjoy free accommodation in exchange for looking after pets and making sure the house doesn’t get burgled, the chances of which are admittedly quite low in Singapore anyway (but don’t forget, low crime doesn’t mean… blah blah).
Just sign up on a website like Trusted Housesitters and start applying for assignments. Once you’ve been selected, you get to live at the owner’s home for the duration of the assignment. Most home owners on the site live in nice condos or houses, which means housesitters get to enjoy a dip in the pool or a workout at the gym if they’re available. Also a great option for those who live with their parents and want some privacy from time to time.
Airbnb (or alternatives like PandaBed) isn’t just for you when you go on holiday. In fact, this 2015 news report revealed that a significant number of Singaporeans are using the site to book accommodation for themselves within Singapore in order to escape their parents’ homes for a while.
If you’d like to spend a birthday weekend away from home or want to live closer to your workplace during crunch-time so you won’t have to waste 3 hours a day on public transport when you’re already sleep deprived, Airbnb is a much cheaper alternative than booking yourself into a cheap hotel.
At the time of writing, there are bedrooms available for as little as 35 SGD a night, which is little more than what you would pay for a bunk in a hostel. There are also several people renting out rooms in their homes in the $700 a month range, which if you’re familiar with the rental market, is pretty darn cheap for a last minute short-term request. If you’re staying for a month or more, contact the seller privately and bargain—it usually works, but be reasonable.
Ask a friend
Being too paiseh to ask for help is a big part of being Singaporean. After all, can’t let anyone know you can’t afford to put up at a five star hotel for a few week, what a loss of face that’d be!
But seriously, if you need a place to crash for a few days/weeks, bite the bullet and reach out to your personal network and you might be pleasantly surprised.
A best case scenario would be being allowed to crash a friend’s couch in exchange for doing the housework or your wonderful company. Even if that isn’t feasible, it’s highly likely one of your friends will have a spare room they can rent to you at a reasonable price.
Sleepovers might have been something you did only as a kid, but letting a friend in need crash at your place is not as unheard of as you might think. Many Singaporeans wouldn’t think twice about hosting a friend visiting from overseas.
If you’re don’t have too many local contacts, get a friend or colleague who does to make a Facebook post. People are often nicer than you think.
Have you ever had to get short-term accommodation in Singapore? Tell us what you did in the comments!