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CO poisoning case puts unlicensed rentals back in spotlight

CO poisoning case puts unlicensed rentals back in spotlight

Even before a Singaporean family staying in an unlicensed short-term rental in Taipei suffered from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning Friday, the Consumers' Foundation urged the government to address the issue to prevent such accidents.

Rooms or studios rented out on a daily basis have sprung up in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung in western Taiwan and Yilan in eastern Taiwan, and if the practice goes unchecked, it will put tourists' life in jeopardy and violate the rights of other residents, the foundation warned in mid-November.

Bed & breakfasts and hostels have to meet certain safety requirements, but many people, eyeing the strong demand for vacation rentals, have taken the risk of renting out their own homes illegally to travelers, the foundation said at the time.

On Wednesday, four members of a Singaporean family were taken to the hospital after feeling dizzy in their rented studio apartment in Ximenting. Police later said carbon monoxide poisoning was suspected.

The four people were in good condition after being treated.

It was not the first time tourists staying in a daily rental in Taiwan had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Canadian woman in Taiwan for the year-end fireworks extravaganza in 2013 died from inhaling carbon monoxide in an apartment she booked in Daan District in Taipei.

Taipei prosecutors later indicted both of the apartment's sub-landlords on negligence charges.

Daily rentals were brought under a regulatory framework earlier this year when the Act for the Development of Tourism was amended.

Under the revised act, anybody who rents out accommodation on a daily or weekly basis for money will be treated as a hotel operator and be required to meet all relevant guidelines.

The law also stipulated that those who run hostels not registered with local authorities will be subject to fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000. But even after passage of the law, little had been done to enforce the new regulatory framework, the foundation said in November.

It noted then that daily rentals generally cost between NT$300 (US$9.15) and NT$1,500 per night, lower than the NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 a night charged by hostels, and are often found in convenient locations and are popular with budget-conscious tourists. (By Yang Shu-ming, Wen Kui-hsiang and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-27 05:54 GMT+08:00