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Nowhere Else to Go: More Than 6 Million Malaysians Rely On Room Rentals, According to iBilik

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KUALA LUMPUR, 20 October 2023 iBilik, Malaysia’s largest room rental marketplace and co-living platform, would like to highlight the necessity of partitioned rooms for the youth & B40 communities. The recent media reports on partitioned rooms and disciplinary actions taken by the Ministry of Local Government Development have been justified in those specific black sheep cases. Unfortunately, this has also fed into an inaccurate narrative surrounding partitioned rooms as a whole that needs to be corrected.

A chart detailing the age groups of the respondents in iBilik’s survey

In reality, more than 6 million Malaysians currently rely on full or partitioned room rentals. In fact, for these Malaysians — primarily made up of students in tertiary education and young working adults from the ages of 18 – 39 years old — they have virtually no opportunity to financially access an entire house or apartment at all. This means that room rentals are the only solution available for these individuals for any viable affordable housing, and in especially dire situations, partitioned rooms become the only option.

Lee Seng Hee, co-founder and CEO of iBilik

“Our intention has always been to provide affordable, comfortable housing that can accommodate various needs. We want to equip as many people as possible with a safe, convenient, and pleasant living environment regardless of their limited budget. Without room rentals or moderately partitioned rooms, these young and ambitious hopefuls will be set back with nowhere else to go,” said Lee Seng Hee, co-founder and CEO of iBilik.

A chart detailing the rental budgets of the respondents in iBilik’s survey

Looking at iBilik’s most recent survey with over 20,000 respondents, there is clearly an incredibly high demand for room rental spaces in both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Over half of the respondents are under the age of 30, with a current rental budget range of RM300 – RM600 per month. This pales greatly in comparison to the lowest median rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Kuala Lumpur, which is significantly more expensive at a monthly rate of RM 1,400. Without partitioned spaces, of which there are currently some 300,000 available, nothing is available for these renters.

In addition, contrary to the misconception that partitioned room sizes are unacceptably small, the average partitioned room is actually 80 sq ft. This provides just enough room for students and entry-level professionals to get their much-needed head start. In this sense, partitioned rooms and room rental as a whole bridge the affordable housing gap by introducing smaller, cheaper spaces as viable financial offerings.

“At the end of the day, iBilik is strongly against the black sheep who practise unethical room renting as they only jeopardise the image of our industry. For the sake of the communities that currently and inevitably continue to rely on partitioned spaces, we are always ready to work with the government to refine the regulations and enforcement processes. We are passionate about setting a high standard for the quality of the rooms provided to all our tenants, and are dedicated entirely to offering a safe place for all Malaysians to stay in,” Lee concluded.

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