24 June 2019 by and Real Estate Alert

“Airbnb” Bill – what you need to know

The Department of Tourism has extended the deadline for comments on the so-called “Airbnb Bill”, formally the Draft Tourism Amendment Bill, to 15 July 2019. This follows months of speculation on whether the Bill may restrict and regulate short-term rentals, popularised by the likes of Airbnb, in South Africa.

The concerns stem from the Bill’s proposition “to provide for the determination of thresholds for short-term home sharing” which many interpret as an indication that Airbnb and other short-term rentals will soon be regulated. The Bill also provides for a definition of a “short-term home rental” as “the renting or leasing on a temporary basis, for reward, of a dwelling or a part thereof to a visitor”.

Industry players are concerned that these regulations could limit the amount of nights a visitor may spend in a short-term rental, as well as the amount of money a lessor may earn.

While the Bill certainly warrants attention, affected parties are advised to await a final version of the Bill and gazetted regulations confirming the scope of the thresholds. Only once the Bill proceeds past draft format and is fleshed out by way of regulations, can the true scope of its impact be determined.

Should you wish to comment on the draft Bill, your input can be emailed to Ms Mmaditonki Setwaba at msetwaba@tourism.gov.za before 15 July 2019 or enquiries can be directed to her at (012) 444 6312.

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