Accommodation in South Africa

Accommodation in South Africa
Updated 2020-04-23 12:51

If you are planning to relocate in South Africa, finding accommodation will with no doubt be one of your main priorities. Thanks to its developed real estate network, the country provides a range of housing options for all tastes and budgets, regardless of the duration of your stay.

If you prefer short-term accommodation at first, until you've become more familiar with your surroundings, you will be able to choose from furnished apartments for this purpose. Major cities or popular tourist destinations offer a bigger choice, of course. Once you are in the country, you will have more time to look for the ideal home as per your criteria and budget.

Types of accommodation

In general, houses and apartments are available for rent both for long and short periods, usually for a minimum of three to six months. In case you are planning to stay longer, you can choose from a range of furnished and unfurnished accommodation. Of course, rent prices vary according to the neighbourhood, type of accommodation, the surface area, facilities provided and the duration of stay. The cost also rises with inflation. You should get a very good idea of prices by scanning a few websites. In general, expats are of the opinion that buying is relatively cheaper compared to renting, however that comes with its own formalities.

Leasing in South Africa

Lease conditions in South Africa are different from those in other countries. In fact, according to South African laws, the tenant has to make an offer to the owner of the chosen housing unit, preferably with the help of a lawyer.

In case you have registered with a real estate agency, the agent will take care of relating formalities on your behalf. You will then have to sign the lease contract by providing a bank statement and a payslip.

The lease contract, as stipulated by the Rental Housing Act, must include the following:

  • the owner's name and address;
  • the tenant's name and address;
  • the property's address;
  • the rent to be paid and payment date;
  • the security deposit;
  • the expiry schedule;
  • the annual rental price increase
  • rental duration;
  • other charges that will be the tenant's responsibility;
  • inventory; and
  • each party's obligations and responsibilities.


Rent is payable a month in advance and the owner must issue a receipt to the tenant following each rental payment. A refundable deposit is payable with the first month's rent.

Good to know:

Most housing is of fair standard. Houses can be quite large by European standards and bungalow-type houses are popular. Many middle and upmarket properties have swimming pools and gardens. Building standards are different which often makes houses draughty or poorly insulated.

Short-term rental in South Africa

As mentioned above, it is best to choose short-term rental at first. Once you are settled in and you have got acquainted with the area, you can take your time to look for the ideal housing with regards to proximity to your place of work and accessibility to local amenities and schools

You are more likely to find a range of short-term housing in coastal regions which are more popular with tourists. You can still find affordable apartments, bungalows and houses, especially out-of-season. Search for self-catering accommodation in the area you want to stay.

Find accommodation in South Africa

If you are already on the spot, start by browsing classified ads in local newspapers and offers on the internet. Feel free to seek the help of tourism authorities if you are looking for short-term accommodation. For long-term rentals, it is best to register with a real estate agency which can help you find the ideal accommodation as per your criteria more rapidly. A real estate agent has the required expertise to help you with the lease contract as well.

Useful links:

Rental Housing Act
Private Property
Property 24

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