Many householders are taking on rising living costs by turning their homes into a space shared with others
With the cost of living rising and South Africans seeking new ways to make ends meet, many are using their homes to generate additional monthly incomes.
The most common ways homeowners use their properties to make extra money include renting out extra bedrooms to tenants or students, renting out garden cottages or outbuildings and hiring out garages, sheds and outbuildings as storage space.
As rentals and housing prices increase, along with general financial pressures, Estelle Nagel, brand marketing manager at Gumtree SA, says she has seen a “marginal increase” in people looking for tenants for extra bedrooms in their homes. Many first-time buyers do this to help afford their bond repayments.
“There are also retirees who want to scale down or supplement their incomes and renting a portion of their home allows them to do so.” Demand for house shares or rooms in a home fluctuates based on the location, Nagel says. Those close to universities and colleges are always in “extremely high demand”.
“With many South Africans commuting long distances to work, rooms in the inner city are also popular.”
Nagel says there are about 20 000 inquiries a month for room shares on Gumtree SA. On the platform, about 5% of properties advertised for rent are granny flats or Wendy houses.
Those looking for these property types are often animal owners who can’t find a pet-friendly flat. “Demand far outweighs supply for granny flats,” Nagel says.
Many properties across the southern suburbs with granny flats or garden cottages are rented out for additional incomes, say Seeff rental agents Jacqui Bush and Sonya Garisch.
These may be older buyers who no longer need so much space and want to convert part of their property into an income-producing flat or cottage. Many tenants looking for such properties are able to enjoy “a nice lifestyle” without having to incur the expense of renting their own home, Bush says.
“The properties could, for example, have some garden space that you can enjoy, and you might also have access to facilities such as the pool. Of course, they tend to also come with security.”
HouseME data shows that of the rooms let out on its database, separate units are “far more successful” than single room house share options, says founder Ben Shaw. However, the most popular way of renting out part of a property is “by far” through granny flats or outbuildings.
Garden cottages in secure suburbs seem to be in “perpetual high demand”. “This formula seems to appeal to a broader range of prospective tenants as not only your professionals, but small families or mid-life adapting professionals are all interested in these sorts of spaces,” Shaw says.
Lack of storage space in homes is also becoming a problem for many, although Gumtree is not seeing as many inquiries for such space. It is, however, becoming more common in cities. “There are roughly 200 spaces that are for rent as extra storage space.”
In complexes where some units have garages and others don’t, there is more demand for storage space, with Gumtree reporting about 200 to 400 inquiries a month on these adverts.
Rental potential depends on location and the extras on offer
The income homeowners can earn from renting out rooms in their homes or cottages on their properties depends heavily on the area in which they live, and the perks that come with the rented room or cottage.
Within a large house share, HouseME’s Ben Shaw says rooms can be rented for between R2 500 and R6 000 a month, while smaller properties usually cost R4 000 to R8 000 a month.
Prices are under pressure as there is currently an oversupply in the market, he says, adding that HouseME sees rentals from R3 500 to R12 000 across the country.
In Cape Town’s southern suburbs homeowners renting out garden flats and cottages can earn R8 000 to R14 000 a month, depending on the area and what is on offer, says Seeff rental agent Sonya Garisch.
Those in Blouberg, Table View and Parklands can rent out rooms for R3 000 to R6 000 for a basic sharing arrangement, says Clinton Martle, licensee for Seeff Blouberg.
“Generally, the tenant looking for a sharing arrangement may need a furnished room where they only have to provide their own bedding and towelling, and then use of the rest of the property, including the lounge and any outdoor entertainment area. There should at least be DStv/satellite TV and wi-fi.”
In Cape Town’s lower- to middle-income areas it is “quite common” to find people renting out rooms in their homes, says Gary Grobbelaar, chief executive for Seeff South-Eastern Suburbs.
This trend is popular as this accommodation is more affordable and low-income or entry-level employees can still live in convenient areas. “The south-eastern suburbs are, for example, popular with those living in areas such as Mitchells Plain and surrounds.”
Those looking for accommodation can expect to pay R1 000 to R3 000 per room, depending on the area and what is included in the rental. “These types of rentals tend to be most popular in nodes close to public transport, basic shops and banking.”
Listings on Gumtree indicate furnished rooms in neighbourhoods such as Khayelitsha go for R500 a month, while a room in the northern suburbs with DStv access, electricity and cleaning service included can go for R5 000 or more, says Gumtree SA’s Estelle Nagel.
“Consider carefully what optional extras would be included (as well as the costs) before taking on a tenant,” she advises landlords. Granny flats generally earn as much as one-bedroom rentals in the respective areas but are usually priced between R4 000 and R6 000.
Wendy houses are about half that amount, Nagel says. “In university towns such as Stellenbosch, a room can run from R1 800 to R4 000, and rooms close to UCT are going for up to R6 000 a month.” Nagel says parking spots and garages are let out for storage at around R500 a month.
Let Hollywood pay your bond
An innovative way for homeowners to use their homes for extra income is to rent them out to filmmakers as a location, says Gumtree SA’s Estelle Nagel. Natalie Muller, rentals manager for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard, Waterfront & City Bowl, says Cape Town is popular for film and photographic shoots.
“There are many beautiful homes in stunning settings on the Atlantic seaboard, in the southern suburbs, Winelands and coastal areas. These can be lucrative and become a selling point for a property,” Muller says.
Property owners can earn around R15000 a day for film and R7000 a day for still photography, based on a Hout Bay property with a river and farm-like setting, Muller says. Nagel says: “We’ve also seen homeowners rent their gardens for tea parties, baby showers or childrens’ parties.”