The University of Macau (UM) confirmed Sunday that a postgraduate student rented out an on-campus accommodation unit to others via an online home rental platform, according to government-owned broadcaster TDM.
The public university has ordered the student to move out of the unit, the TDM report said.
Sundays’s UM confirmation came after a report by Orange Post – an online media outlet run by the Communication Society of the University of Macau Students’ Union (UMSU) –on Saturday, saying that the postgraduate student started to rent out the unit via the online home rental platform Airbnb in October last year. The report did not mention the student’s gender.
Orange Post said in its Chinese-language report that it had contacted the student by pretending to be a potential guest looking for accommodation.
The student told the Orange Post that it was legal to rent out accommodation in the unit and that many people had enquired about booking a bed in the unit.
The University of Macau’s on-campus accommodation for its master’s degree and PhD students is officially known as the Postgraduate Houses.
By comparing the university’s official information about its Postgraduate House with the photos posted by the student on Airbnb, Orange Post confirmed that the accommodation which was being rented out by the student was located in one of the university’s Postgraduate Houses the report said.
According to the Orange Post report, a person from the mainland who stayed in the postgraduate student’s unit posted a highly positive comment about the stay in the unit on Airbnb’s website earlier this month. The commenter mentioned a “great experience” when staying in the two-bed unit, stressing that all the items for daily necessities had been provided. The commenter said that the unit is located on the campus of the University of Macau.
The University of Macau told TDM Sunday that it was highly concerned about the incident, adding that it has launched an investigation into the issue. The university has “immediately” ordered the postgraduate student to move out of the unit, the TDM report said.
According to TDM, the university will handle the incident in line with its Student Disciplinary Regulations and provide counselling to the student. The university pledged that it will thoroughly review the management of its on-campus accommodation.
Meanwhile, the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) told TDM that its inspectors have visited the University of Macau’s Postgraduate Houses to check the situation after receiving complaints by email about accommodation being illegally provided there. The office also said that its inspectors had not found any evidence about the provision of illegal accommodation there, according to TDM.
The Orange Report said that accommodation in the unit was offered for between “314 and 350” per night, without indicating the currency.
The unit has meanwhile been removed from the Airbnb website.
Illegal accommodation has become a hot-button issue in Macau due to their proliferation in residential buildings, resulting in bona fide residents’ public security and hygiene concerns about illegal inns sharing communal facilities with private flats.