Responsible hosting in Malaysia
In order to help Airbnb hosts become familiar with hosting responsibilities, we’ve put together a hosting guide to provide a general overview of different laws, regulations, and best practices that may affect hosts. You’re required to follow our hosting standards, and any other laws specific to your location and circumstance.
Please note: We recommend that you do your own research as this article isn’t comprehensive, and doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. Should you have additional tax questions, visit the Malaysian tax website.
Table of contents
- Health and cleanliness
- National taxes
- Regulations and permissions
- Other hosting information
Health and cleanliness
Key recommendations on cleaning and health protocols
For general health protocols, please review the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) by Malaysia’s National Security Council for Strata Management Sector, which mandated key measures including the following:
- Property owners need to inform the management about guests/customers’ arrival for record purposes
- Owners need to make sure the unit is cleaned and disinfected before the arrival of new guests/customers
- The movement of individual visitors in the strata scheme is restricted to the unit or the specific areas indicated in the register of visitors
- The number of visitors allowed during any festivities cannot exceed 20 people in one day and the gathering of 20 people must not be held on one occasion (limited to immediate family).
- The Malaysian Ministry of Health recommends cleaning accommodations with a solution containing at least 70% alcohol. Review their website for more guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting.
- For detailed guidance on cleaning materials and sanitization best practices, please refer to Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocol, which is endorsed by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA)
- For general information on Malaysia’s COVID-19 response
- For regular updates on WHO’s COVID-19 response in Malaysia
Your tax obligations can vary based on your particular circumstances, so we recommend that you research your obligations or consult a tax professional to get more specific information, or visit the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board.
In general, the money you earn as a host on Airbnb is considered taxable income which may be subject to income tax. If you are an individual person, you may be required to declare the income you receive as a host in your annual personal income tax return form by the end of April each year. Annual net income (taxable income minus deductible expenses and allowances) is subject to personal income tax at progressive rates up to 30 percent.
If you are a corporate entity, you are required to declare the income you receive as a host in your annual corporate income tax return form and pay tax annually to the Inland Revenue Department by the end of the seventh month from your company's financial year end. Annual net profits (taxable income minus deductible expenses) are subject to corporate income tax at the prevailing rate of up to 24 percent.
Check with the Inland Revenue Board Malaysia to find out if you need to declare the amount you earn from hosting, which you can find in your host earnings summary. It’s also a good idea to find out if you’re eligible for other credits like tax reliefs and allowances.
The provision of services as a host in Malaysia may be subject to service tax. You will be responsible to register yourself for service tax if the host income you earn as a host reaches RM 500,000 or more per year. You are also required to collect tourism tax of RM 10 per room per night from foreigners staying in your properties.
Visit the Royal Malaysia Customs Department to find out more about the service tax and the tourism tax. There, you can find eligibility requirements for credits like tax reliefs and allowances.
Airbnb activities are subject to local council regulations. You can also check the applicable tax or local government fees with the respective local authorities. These may include Assessment Tax and Quit Rent.
All hosts must comply with the regulations about their reporting obligations, including tax submissions.
General regulations and permissions
It’s important to make sure you’re allowed to host on your property. Some examples of restrictions include contracts, laws, and community rules. Check with a lawyer or local authority to learn more about regulations, restrictions, and obligations specific to your circumstances. Malaysia has laws and regulations that may affect short-term rentals. Please check relevant laws and regulations for compliance, including the National Land Code 1965, Tourism Industry Act 1992, the Registration of Businesses Act 1956, the Local Government Act 1976, the Strata Management Act 2013 and other regulations issued by local authorities.
Under National Land Code 1965, the usage of a building must be in accordance with conditions for use of the building. In this respect, there may be a limitation for hosts to carry out short term rental accommodation (STRA) activities which is deemed to be a “commercial activity” within residential buildings. For example, to carry out STRA activities within residential buildings, hosts may have to change the condition for use of building from residential to commercial with the relevant State Land Office. The government acknowledges that this requirement may add unnecessary regulatory burden to hosts with the costs and time involved in making such an application.
To address this issue, the government is considering a draft national regulatory framework for STRA. Authorities are reviewing existing policies and possibly undertaking a policy determination to allow for STRA activities to be conducted in residential buildings, without requiring hosts to apply for a change of condition for use of building.
For more information on the latest updates on hosting regulations and permissions, see the draft STRA guidelines.
As the Recovery Control Movement Order (RMCO) is set to last until 31 December 2020 (unless further extended), hosts are reminded to regularly check the latest SOPs by the National Security Council.
Registration of guests, including foreign guests
The Registration of Guests Act 1965 provides for the obligation of keepers of residential accommodation in respect of the registration of their guests. If a premise, whether furnished or unfurnished, is used to provide services for “lodging or sleeping accommodation”, the owner and/or operator of the premise is required to maintain a specified register of guests. Failure to do so is an offense and may be penalized by way of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding RM2000, or both. The broad definition of “lodging or sleeping accommodation” may potentially include STRA operations where STRA hosts must keep a registry of guests, which will be readily available for inspection by the relevant authority.
Contractual agreements and permits
Leases, contracts, building regulations, condominium regulations and community rules can have restrictions against subletting or hosting. Please review any contracts you’ve signed for restrictions, or contact your landlord, condominium manager, community council, or other authority.
You might be able to add an addendum to your lease or contract that can provide clarity about concerns, responsibilities, and liabilities for all parties.
Please check relevant laws and regulations for compliance, e.g. Contracts Act 1950, Civil Law Act 1956, Distress Act 1951, Specific Relief Act 1950 which regulates lease agreements and tenancy matters.
If your property has a mortgage (or any form of loan), check with the lender to make sure that there aren’t restrictions against subletting or hosting.
Subsidized housing restrictions
Check with your housing authority or housing association if you live in a subsidized housing community and are interested in becoming a host.
If you share your home with others, consider making a formal agreement with your housemates in order to outline expectations. Housemate agreements can include how often you plan to host, guest etiquette, whether you'll share revenue, and more.
We’ll take appropriate action if anyone notifies us of potential misuse. If local authorities are involved, we also have guidelines to work with local authorities with regards to data requests.
We care about the safety of hosts and their guests. You can improve your guests’ peace of mind by providing a few simple preparations like emergency instructions and noting any potential hazards.
Emergency contact information
Include a contact list with the following phone numbers:
- Local emergency numbers
- The number for the nearest hospital
- Your contact number
- A number for a backup contact (in case guests can’t reach you)
It’s also a good idea to make sure guests know the best way to contact you in case of an emergency. You can also communicate with guests using messages on Airbnb as a safe alternative.
Additionally, you may wish to print out the Airbnb host Safety Guide for your guests. The guide (available in Bahasa Malaysia, English, and Chinese) provides guests with important safety tips as well as local emergency numbers.
Keep your first aid kit in a place your guests can find easily. Check it regularly so you can restock supplies if they run out.
If you have gas appliances, follow any applicable gas safety regulations and make sure you have a working carbon monoxide and smoke detector. Provide a fire extinguisher and remember to maintain it regularly.
Ensure you have a clearly marked fire escape route. Post a map of the route so it’s easy for guests to see.
- Prevent any potential fire hazards by:
- Inspecting your home to identify any areas where guests might trip or fall
- Removing the hazards you identify or mark them clearly
- Fixing any exposed wires
- Making sure your stairs are safe and have railings
- Locking up or disposing of any objects that may be dangerous to your guests
Some guests travel with young family members and need to understand if your home is right for them. You can use the Additional notes section of Listing details in your Airbnb account to indicate potential hazards or indicate that your home isn’t suitable for children and infants.
Working appliances, like furnaces and air conditioners, can greatly affect your guests’ comfort during their stay. There are lots of ways you can make sure your guests stay comfortable. Make sure your appliances are properly serviced, let your guests know where the thermostat is, and how to use it. Provide instructions on using the air conditioner and heat, and make sure your space has proper ventilation.
Establish safe occupancy limits. Your local government may have guidelines.
Part of being a responsible host is helping your guests understand best practices for interacting with your community. When you communicate local rules and customs with your guests, you’re helping to create a great experience for everyone.
If your building has common spaces or shared amenities, let guests know the rules for those places.
You can include your house rules on the Additional notes section of Listing details in your Airbnb account. Guests usually appreciate it when you share your expectations with them upfront.
Let your neighbors know if you’re planning to host. This gives them the chance to let you know if they have any concerns or considerations.
Guests book through Airbnb for lots of reasons, including vacations and celebrations. Let your guests know how noise impacts neighbors early on for a smoother experience.
If you’re concerned about disturbances to your community, there are different ways you can help limit excessive noise:
- Implement a quiet hours policy
- Don’t allow pets
- Indicate that your listing isn’t suitable for children or infants
- Prohibit parties and additional unregistered guests
Communicate any parking rules for your building and neighborhood to your guests. Examples of possible parking rules:
- Only park in an assigned space
- Park on the west side of the street on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to street cleaning
- Street parking is only available from 7pm-7am
Please check your lease or building rules to make sure there isn’t a restriction on pets. If you allow guests to bring pets, let your guests know the best places to walk their dogs and the proper place to dispose of their waste. Share a backup plan, like the number of a nearby pet kennel, in case a guest's pet upsets the neighbors.
Always respect your guests' privacy. Our rules on security devices clearly state what we expect from our hosts, but some locations have additional laws and regulations that you’ll need to be aware of.
If you do allow smoking, be sure to provide ashtrays in designated areas. If you don't allow smoking, we suggest posting signs to remind guests.
Speak with your insurance agent or carrier to determine what kind of obligations, limits, and coverage are required for your specific circumstances.
Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance
Airbnb’s host Guarantee and Airbnb’s host Protection Insurance provide you with primary coverage for listed damages and liabilities. However, you may still wish to have homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or adequate liability coverage. You might need to meet other insurance requirements as well.
Liability and basic coverage
Review your homeowners or renters policy with your insurance agent or carrier to make sure your listing has adequate liability coverage and property protection.
Other hosting information
If you need more information, check out our hosting FAQs to learn more about hosting on Airbnb.