Airbnb in Cape Town CBD flats illegal without city consent

2017-10-04 09:47 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - Many Airbnb hosts letting their flats in Cape Town may be doing so illegally.

Mayor committee member Brett Heron told the Weekend Argus that in order to rent out flats on Airbnb the host would need permission from the city of Cape Town.

SEE: Want to live like a Trump? Airbnb can make it happen

"In terms of municipal planning by-laws, a block of flats cannot be used for holiday accommodation or hotel purposes. 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," Heron told Weekend Argus.

Houses and guesthouses on private property do not have the same restrictions.

According to airdna, there are over 9 700 listings that rent out the entire home or apartment, and at a cursory glance on Airbnb most appear to be apartments. The average price per night for two people in Cape Town is R903, and 61% of hosts list more than one property on the website.

ALSO SEE: Airbnb: The good and the bad

Heron also encouraged people to tip off the city if they know of anyone contravening these rules.

Cape Town has faced lots of backlash recently due to the perceived housing crisis, further exasperated by accommodation bought up for tourism purposes instead of renting to permanent residents.

In June, Traveller24 asked readers if Airbnb should be regulated, with 72% voting no, despite the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) saying that the online accommodation bookings platform needs to abide by formal regulations in order to operate fairly.

Cities like New York and Berlin also have strict laws regulating Airbnb, including policies where a host can't rent out more than one full house or apartment on the website.

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