Short Term Letting in Sectional Title Schemes: What About Airbnb?

Short Term Letting in Sectional Title Schemes

Airbnb South Africa: What You Need To Know to List Your Property

Airbnb is an American online holiday and homestay rental website. The company has gained popularity amongst tourists and local travellers across the globe for offering a more personalized and often more affordable option than the traditional hotel industry. 

Airbnb has also received praise for offering property owners the opportunity to boost their income by listing a furnished property, or parts thereof, as short-term rentals in exchange for a booking commission. 

Naturally, there are arguments against short-term letting and Airbnb. Residents in close proximity to leased properties on Airbnb have raised concerns about security risks, complaints from local residents about noisy occupants, damage to shared property, challenges with enforcing the rules of the sectional title scheme, inappropriate use of the property, and for creating an influx of unwanted activity in residential areas.

Airbnb Regulations South Africa: The Sectional Titles Act and The Sectional Title Schemes Management Act

Sectional title owners need to comply with the relevant legislation and regulations before leasing their property on Airbnb. In South Africa, sectional title schemes are regulated by the:

Decisions made within sectional title schemes will include input from some or all of the following parties:

  • The trustees of the body corporate
  • The respective property owners
  • The Municipal By-Laws
  • The Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS)

Renting a property on Airbnb in Sectional Title Schemes in South Africa

Decision-making is further guided by the management and conduct rules adopted by the body corporate of the sectional title scheme. All parties residing within the sectional title are bound by these rules. 

These rules can be amended and new rules may be added upon meeting the requirement of the STSMA stipulating that rules have to be reasonable and equally applicable to parties, and have been approved by the Chief Ombud. With regards to Airbnb, the Community Schemes Ombud will approve a rule restricting or banning short-term letting. 

Thus, owners do not have much legal footing if such rules prohibit the short-term rental of properties in the sectional title scheme. 

While it may still be possible to rent a unit on Airbnb if the rules of the sectional title scheme allow such, all other rules must still be adhered to, and importantly, the body corporate has the right to amend these rules in the best interest of its members. Of course, the owners have to approve these amended rules. 

Alan Levy Attorneys and Conveyancers: Sectional Title Schemes Attorneys in Johannesburg

The purpose of this article is to provide a summary on the matter and does not constitute legal advice. 

If you need legal advice pertaining to sectional title schemes, homeowners associations, share blocks, and other community schemes matters, contact Alan Levy Attorneys for exceptional service and industry-leading legal expertise.

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