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Moving from prevention to enforcement

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Holding owners accountable for any security, maintenance and conduct issues.

Airbnb has gained much ground in South Africa, and participating property owners are making so much money from it that many sectional title complexes and estates have given up trying to stop it.

Rather, they are focusing on holding those owners accountable for any security, maintenance and conduct issues. The latest Airbnb figures indicate there are more than 43000 hosts in the country letting space in their homes for an average 19 nights a year, and making R25000 annually.

Andrew Schaefer, managing director of property management company Trafalgar, says some owners acquire property for this purpose. Many find they can make at least R25 000 a month by letting Airbnb apartments in high demand holiday destinations and commercial centres.

Read: Airing the good, the bad and the ugly

Schaefer says it has proved difficult for body corporates and homeowners’ associations to stop this activity, even though other owners and long-term tenants complain about conduct rules being breached by short-stay tenants.

They also complain that the security of complexes is compromised by the number of strangers in and out, and additional maintenance of common property is required due to the high volume of users.

In some cases, body corporates have tried to invoke local by-laws regarding B&B establishments. In other cases, they have tried to amend conduct rules to restrict and even prevent shortterm letting in their sectional title schemes.

The focus is now shifting to enforcing existing legal measures regarding letting, and beefing up security systems. “Body corporates are starting to fine owners who do not comply or whose tenants ignore the rules,” Schaefer says.

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