The minister of tourism Derek Hanekom asked Airbnb this week to “limit the number of nights landlords make their homes available” in South Africa.
This is according to a report by the Sunday Times, which added Hanekom said the limit must be set on Airbnb’s online booking platform.
The move will ensure that homeowners who place their properties for hire on Airbnb do not exceed national limits, in terms of how many nights they rent to guests.
New proposed regulations on short-term rentals in South Africa were gazetted by the department of tourism in April, and annual limits for Airbnb rentals up for discussion are 30, 60, 90, or 120 nights.
According to the report, local Airbnb hosts rent out their properties for 19 nights per year on average. If the regulations are passed and an Airbnb host exceeds an annual limit, they will have to follow the same laws as accommodation businesses.
This has been well received by the likes of The Federated Hospitality Association of SA – which called on the government to crack down on Airbnb. Smaller hospitality organisations have echoed this call, stating that Airbnb is killing small businesses in the country.
Hanekom has stated that the department does not want to kill Airbnb with the regulations, but ensure it abides by local laws.
“The proposal is that the minister will be able to regulate short-term rentals. It is not about killing Airbnb, but rather to address the concerns from guest houses and hotels,” he said in early May.
Hanekom added that regulation of Airbnb is not uncommon, highlighting that it has been done in Greece, Paris, and London.
Airbnb said it is not opposed to regulation in South Africa, as long as the rules are fair and evidence-based. They must also ensure local people continue to benefit.