With property and tourism prices skyrocketing and homeowners letting out their property through the Airbnb app, it has generated an estimated R2.4 billion in total economic activity across the country in 2016, according to a May 2017 report – the sum of guest spending and host income.

26% of these guests spent their time at a Cape Town Airbnb, but it’s short-term rentals which drives prices up, says the City’s Mayco Member for Transport and Urban Development, Brett Herron. He also stated that letting through Airbnb is not permitted without the City’s consent.

“A large number of Airbnb rentals in Cape Town are illegal. It is not permitted to rent out entire homes or apartments on a short-term basis” said Heron in an interview with GroundUp.

Heron encouraged people who knew of breaches to the municipal planning by-laws to provide details to the city’s law enforcement staff, “who will proceed with legal actions if needed/warranted”, when he spoke to the Weekend Argus.

BnB’s and guesthouses are not affected by the by-laws because the accommodation is provided in a house or second house on a property, but holiday rentals cannot be let out from blocks of flats.

“Any owner wishing to do short-term holiday letting from a block of flats, irrespective of the platform facilitating such letting – such as Airbnb or otherwise – must ensure the property is appropriately zoned, and must apply for consent from the city’s development management department.”

South Africans welcomed almost 400,000 guest arrivals into their homes in 2016 alone, Airbnb said in May 2017. As many as 16,000 people played Airbnb host in 2016 in the country. The data found that guests, meanwhile, stayed an average of 4.3 days per trip.

The typical host on Airbnb in South Africa shares their home for 16 days a year and earns an additional R28,000 per annum, with a total of R817 million earned by Airbnb hosts, and R1.6 billion spent by guests, the group said.


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