Property Flash


Be careful which holiday maker or businessperson you hand your keys over to next summer, as some unscrupulous people might be using your home to horde wads of laundered cash or to house an illicit business.

Since Airbnb’s founding in 2008, hosts in South Africa have earned hundreds of millions of rands from hosting. A large percentage of hosts on Airbnb in the country hosts with the aim to supplement their income as a freelancer, part-time worker, or even their parents. Maybe they invested in a property and are now paying off a student loan.

But Property Flash has heard that often these property owners just don’t vet the people they rent rooms to. For decades we have got into the habit of doing background checks on these people we rent space to when it is for six months to a year but when it comes to using a tech app to rent out a holiday home or even our humble abode, we are far too slack.

In some of Cape Town’s lavish suburbs, crooks are renting out Airbnb space. It’s not uncommon for a crook representative to be present while cleaning staff clean rooms in apartments and houses. It just so happens that there are bags of money stashed around the room and cleaners are instructed to clean around the cash which was accumulated illegally.

But don’t always assume that criminals are using your home for their pesky ends. Sometimes you will find that people just don’t relay accurate information. You may think you are renting a room out to a student and then, a week later, her grandparents rock up.

Going forward, Airbnb users who rent out their space or who rent space should ask questions and administer checks wherever possible. It may seem like work and a wait but putting that effort in could be very useful.

Alistair Anderson

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