Since its inception in 2009, Airbnb, an online marketplace for accommodation, has changed the way property owners and rental agents across the globe manage their properties. In recent years, the use of Airbnb has made its way into the South African market with great success. However, despite the promise of easy money, “airing” your home does come with a handful of challenges.
Here’s what you need to consider before Airbnb-ing your property in South Africa.
Are You Legally Allowed To?
Before you consider jumping feet first into the Airbnb market, you need to ensure that you are legally allowed to be an Airbnb host. Currently, South Africa does not have any law prohibiting the use of Airbnb or short-term rentals. However, certain cities, such as Cape Town, may enforce bylaws and zoning regulations to address the issue.
For example, according to an article released on News24, in order to rent out flats on Airbnb in Cape Town, the host needs permission from the City of Cape Town.
However, if your city does not prohibit short-term rentals or the use of Airbnb, the next step is to check the rules and Constitution of your Body Corporate or Home Owners Association before listing your property on Airbnb. In most cases, you will have to receive consent from the Home Owners Association or Body Corporate in order to avoid future complications.
The Disruption Factor
When it comes to short-term rentals, it is vital to ensure that there are specific rules in place to manage occupiers; especially in areas where other tenants and owners could be disrupted by the coming and going of guests.
When it comes to noise, remind guests to “keep it down”. You may want to consider whether you allow babies, pets, or parties. Develop a policy about guests inviting other people over, and ensure your guests are clear about your ‘party policy.’
As Airbnb advises, “Ensure you relay your building’s common area rules to your guest. Remind guests not to bother your neighbours (e.g., don’t knock on their door or buzz them to let you in)”.
Our advice is to inform your neighbours of your Airbnb arrangements and ensure them that you will not tolerate any unruly behaviour from the guests.
The Question of Tax
Not only does Airbnb provide a convenient way for people to travel the world, it also provides an easy way for home owners to earn more money.
In fact, according to a report released in 2017 by the United States-based home-sharing platform, the typical Airbnb host in South Africa earns R28 000 a year by sharing their space for 19 nights a year.
And as with any form of income earned, tax will need to be paid on the earnings. Our advice is to consult a tax advisor about the most effective way to declare the Airbnb income.
Airbnb has provided many home-owners with a chance to earn extra money, meet new people and improve their livelihood, which makes it a very attractive business opportunity. In order to make Airbnb really work for you, our advice is to adhere to the steps listed above and go out of your way to make sure that your guests feel welcomed, safe and comfortable.