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We’ve put together this article to help hosts on Airbnb become familiar with hosting responsibilities, and to provide a general overview of different laws, regulations, and best practices that may affect hosts. You’re required to follow our guidelines, like our Hosting Standards, and to make sure that you follow the laws and other rules that apply to your specific circumstances and locale.
We recommend that you do your own research as this article isn’t comprehensive, and doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. Also, as we don’t update this article in real time, please check each source and make sure that the information provided hasn’t recently changed.
Table of contents
Health and cleanliness
In the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, the implementation of appropriate health and safety measures will be at the heart of the recovery of the tourism sector. Global information about Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocol can be found in general info about hosting places to stay.
Key recommendations from the government
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African government is developing a set of recommendations you will need to consider when listing your property in South Africa. As soon as they are published we will update this section with a link to the guidelines.
Tax is a complex topic. Your own tax obligations will vary based on your particular circumstances, so we recommend that you research your obligations or consult a tax professional to get more specific information.
In general, the money you earn as a host on Airbnb is considered taxable income that may be subject to different taxes like income tax, business rates, corporation tax or VAT.
Tax forms for South Africa are due around 22nd November each tax year. The tax filing season commences in July. Check with South African Revenue Service (SARS) to find out if you need to declare the amount you earn from hosting, which you can find in your host earnings summary. It’s also a good idea to find out if you’re eligible for other credits like tax reliefs and allowances.
You must register for VAT if your VAT taxable turnover goes over R50,000 or you know that it will in any consecutive 12 month period. Check the SARS VAT registration section for more information on VAT thresholds. The South African standard rate of VAT is 15% and applies to all short term lettings.
SARS may request Airbnb to provide specific data in respect of certain taxpayers. Airbnb is legally required to provide a limited amount of data about transactions that take place on the Airbnb platform to SARS upon request.
Free tax guide
We want to make it easy for you to understand your tax responsibilities as a host on Airbnb, so we’ve partnered with an independent third-party accounting firm to provide a free tax guide (available in English) that covers general tax information in South Africa.
Short-term rental regulations
There are no specific short-term rental regulations in South Africa. Nevertheless, the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999 regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants within South Africa.
There are other regulations that might be applicable to hosts that rent a section in their home in South Africa, such as Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986, Sectional Titles Scheme Management Act 8 of 2011 or Sectional Title Schemes Management Regulations published under Government Notice R 1231.
In South Africa, local authorities, or municipalities, are authorized to regulate rental activity. Please ensure that you have complied with any applicable by-laws in your local municipality.
In 2019, the City of Cape Town approved a by-law which permits short-term letting from a house or flat for a period not exceeding 30 consecutive days for the same guest/traveller.
Other contracts and rules
As a host, you need to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, including leases, co-op rules, or other rules established by tenant organizations. You should be able to find out more by contacting your housing authority (such as a community council) or landlord. Your lease (or other contract) might also have specific details.
Work with your insurance agent or carrier to determine what kind of obligations, limits, and coverage are required for your specific circumstances.
Host damage protection and Host liability insurance
AirCover includes Host damage protection and Host liability insurance, which provide you with basic coverage for listed damages and liabilities. However, these don’t take the place of homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, or adequate liability coverage. You might need to meet other insurance requirements as well.
We strongly encourage all Hosts to review and understand the terms of their insurance policy coverage. Not all insurance plans will cover damage or loss of property caused by a guest who books your accommodation.
Learn more about AirCover.
Liability and basic coverage
Review your homeowner’s or renter’s policy with your insurance agent or carrier to make sure your listing has adequate liability coverage and property protection.
Our commitment to your community
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
Other hosting information
Check out our hosting FAQs to learn more about hosting on Airbnb.
Please note that Airbnb has no control over the conduct of hosts and disclaims all liability. Failure of hosts to satisfy their responsibilities may result in suspension of activity or removal from the Airbnb website. Airbnb isn’t responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).