When it comes to using your property for commercial purposes, different holiday accommodation land use types, such as B&Bs and guest houses, are regulated by zoning schemes. In Cape Town, for example, it’s called the Development Management Scheme.

Cape Town City has a Guest Accommodation Policy that sets out the guidelines that have to be considered when applications are made to obtain the necessary planning permissions. According to the Policy, if you want to provide a self-catering, flexible accommodation option in line with current trends for transient guests, visitors and tourists, then the purpose of the property must follow these guidelines:

  1. A building or group of buildings consisting of separate accommodation units rented for residential purposes, each incorporating a kitchenette / full kitchen, but may also include an option of meals being provided communally to guests.
  2. May include communal areas for the exclusive use by lodgers / transient guests.

 Can the property be located anywhere?

In terms of the location of the property, it has to meet the following criteria:

  1. It’s not supported on a single residential zoned property, subject site must have suitable general residential, mixed use or commercial zoning.
  2. Locational criteria that should also be considered, includes:
    1. proximity to public transport routes, commercial centres and tourist activities.
    2. character of the surrounding area;
    3. mixed use or commercial locations (including areas designated for high density development) are encouraged.

Conclusion

In many cities, you must register, get a permit, or obtain a licence before you can list your property or accept guests. This applies to regular renting, or holiday accommodation. Furthermore, certain types of short-term bookings may be prohibited altogether. Local municipalities may also vary greatly in how they enforce these laws. However, it is not impossible to list your property on Airbnb, you just have to find out from the local municipality if you have the correct permissions and if the property has the correct zoning.

References:

Guest Accommodation Policy, the City of Cape Town, Department of Planning & Building Development Management.

“Regulating Airbnb in Cape Town”, Jan Vermeulen, MyBroadband. https://mybroadband.co.za/news/government/210884-regulating-airbnb-in-cape-town.html

The requirements for listing my property on Airbnb
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