My husband and I are owners of a propert...

Asked by Binaishree Govender on 22-12-2022 11:29:20
Question posted in the Property Law category relating to Western Cape

My husband and I are owners of a property in South Africa that is on rental and managed via air Bnb. A few months ago there was an alleged incident of a guest staying at our property who reportedly damaged a garden box of the owner below us. There are no photo, video or audio proofs that the guest staying caused the damaged and no sworn affidavits. Apparently there is an eye witness. The lawyer of the claimant has contacted us stating that if we do not pay the R3000 for the garden box by Friday they will seek legal action against us. Without any proof we do not want to pay as this damage could have been caused by anyone. What are our rights here and how do we proceed if legal action is taken

Further information relating to Question:

We live in singapore

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 22-12-2022 12:36:35

Hi there and thank you so much for your question.

The first thing that concerns me is that the incident apparently happened a few months ago. Why did they only bring it up now? Surely they should have contacted you within a reasonable time? 

The reason I'm raising this is because AirBNB has an insurance policy which should cover you for all (or some) of the damage that a guest causes. So in theory, you should be able to put in a claim against AirBNB for this damage and they should pay you out.

Ultimately, if you can't reach a settlement with the other neighbours, then the claim would go to the small claims court and they would sue you for the damages. They would lead evidence in court (the eye witness) and they would need to prove that your guests were the cause of the damage. If they could prove this, then they would get a judgement against you and you would then need to pay the damages.

I don't know what defence you would have, because you weren't there.

Have you spoken to AirBNB about this?

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 22-12-2022 15:07:48

If I was you, I would be tempted to pay the R3000 for the garden box, then claim it as a tax deductible expense against your rental income, and then claim it from the guest via AirBnb. Then, also check your AirBnb account to see if there isn't a section for requiring a damages deposit for future incidents.

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