Are you the king of your castle? Limitations on short-term rentals of sectional title units


When it comes to sectional title units the rights of owners “to their own thing” are subject to more limitations than the owners of free-hold property. These restrictions are necessary because the buildings in a sectional title scheme are structurally interdependent and occupants live in close proximity to each other.

Given this context, the question is often asked whether a sectional title owner may let a unit on a short-term basis. Short-term rentals of units are becoming more popular as internet market concepts enable homeowners to rent out “vacation accommodation” across the globe.

In terms of the Sectional Title Act, a sectional owner may alienate or lease his or her unit. The Act, regulations and prescribed management and conduct rules do not limit the right to let units and no time limitation is placed on the term of lease agreements. It is debatable whether a body corporate may amend the rules to prohibit short-term rentals, as this may be unreasonable.

But this does not mean that there is a green light to pursue short-term rentals. Rule 68 of the prescribed management rules provides that an owner may not contravene, or permit the contravention of any statutory regulation or permit the contravention of the conditions of title applicable to his or her section or any other section or to his or her exclusive use area or any other exclusive use area.

If a residential zoning is applicable to the sectional title scheme there may be restrictions on short-term rentals. The primary use in some residential zones permits letting only on a permanent basis. If such a restriction is applicable, short-term rentals may be prohibited in terms of rule 68 of the management rules and the zoning scheme regulations. Title conditions may also prohibit the business use of a unit.

So, before pursuing short-term rentals of your unit, check the zoning laws, title conditions and body corporate rules to make sure they allow short-term rentals.

At Goldberg & de Villiers Inc, the Directors in our Property Law Department, namely Adri Ludorf, Tracey Watson-Gill and Nicolas Mitchell, assisted by Bardine Hall and a team of highly-qualified paralegals, will gladly assist you with any of your Sectional Title or Property Law-related needs.

Contact Adri Ludorf or Tracey Watson-Gill or Nicholas Mitchell on 041 501 9800 or email [email protected]   •  [email protected]   •  [email protected]