New reports suggest that Airbnb is directly affecting rent prices in the city of Cape Town, causing them to skyrocket.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, PayProp CEO Louw Liebenberg says that the prospect of higher returns through Airbnb has encouraged property owners to remove their listings from the long-term rental market.
As a result, says the article, there is now a shortage of these rentals, causing prices to spike dramatically. Liebenberg told the paper that tenants will not be able to keep up with rental prices forever.
Meanwhile, City Mayco member Brett Heron has told MyBroadband that Airbnb does not need to be regulated by city zoning schemes, but that users must ensure they comply with already-established property zones.
“The different holiday accommodation land use types, such as B&Bs and guest houses, are regulated in the City’s zoning scheme, called the Development Management Scheme,” he says. “Furthermore, the Guest Accommodation Policy sets guidelines to be considered when applications are made to obtain the necessary planning permissions.”
At the end of the day, he notes, city laws permit homeowners to list up to three rooms of a ‘dwelling house’ – a permanently-accommodated residence - as part of a B&B.
Above and beyond this allocation, property owners require permission.
Airbnb has been the target of other criticism in recent weeks, with the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa accusing the service of flouting accommodation regulations.
Airbnb responded by calling the allegations baseless and in the interests of “lobby groups who want to avoid competition and protect their bottom line”.
It has also noted that it contributed R2,4-billion to the South African economy last year alone.