Renting in South Africa

South Africa lies at the southern end of the world’s most epic continent, Africa. It has been said that we South Africans are some of the most upbeat, welcoming and humorous folk you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, welcome to our Rainbow Nation – South Africa.

Accommodation options in South Africa abound, and the process for renting is uncomplicated. Once you know where you would like to live, you can choose your preferred accommodation type, be it a bachelor flat in the city, or a big house in the suburbs, or something in between.

If you’re happy to live with other people, you might like to try house-sharing – a popular rental option in South Africa. Each room in a house is rented by a different person, usually with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. It’s a great way to meet new people.

Renting through an estate agents still remains a popular method of finding a place to stay, while listings are also given in local newspapers, and on a wide variety of web sites (such as or With long term renting the costs vary considerably according to the size (number of bedrooms) and quality of a property, its age and the facilities provided. Most rents are negotiable and you should try to obtain a reduction. Sometimes an agent will suggest offering a reduced rent (he may even tell you what to offer!). Generally speaking you will find when living in South Africa, South African landlords often prefer renting to non-resident foreigners, who pay higher rental rates.

When you have an idea of what area suits you best, you would generally contact an estate agent working in that area and coordinate with them with regard to your budget and particular requirements. They would then provide you with possible rental options, and facilitate viewings.

When you see something you like, you fill out the lease application and wait for it to be processed. If you do manage to find a property that meet your needs, always check whether a property is fully equipped or not and whether it has some sort of heating, preferably central heating, if you’re planning to rent in winter. The South African institution of ‘braaing’ ensures that most properties will have at least some kind of outdoor entertainment area. Air conditioning is considered a bit of a luxury in South Africa, while indoor heating is virtually non-existent.

In order to secure a lease, remember that a deposit will be required upfront (generally either one or two months’ rent), and proof of your monthly income must be submitted (to qualify, this must be three times the property’s rental value). One- or two-year leases are the norm, but shorter durations can also be negotiated.

In South Africa, safety in your home is not as problematic as many believe it to be, but it is a concern. Similarly to any country dealing with apparent social inequality, South Africa does experience high levels of opportunistic crime, sometimes accompanied by violence. In general, though, as long as care is taken and vigilance is kept, there is usually not much to be concerned about.

If you are concerned about security, a townhouse complex is likely the best option for you. In most cases, these complexes are protected by security guards at the gate (allowing access only to residents and confirmed visitors) and patrolled by night watchmen in the dark hours.

For Long-term rentals you can safely budget on the following:

Size Of Property

Monthly Rental (R)

Monthly Rental (€)


3,000 – 6,000

320 – 660


5,000 – 10,000

547 – 1,090


8,000 – 17,000

875 – 1,860

Immigrants with the means to purchase property in South Africa often do so: the rates are competitive and the investment potential very good.

At present, non-residents may purchase property in South African with no restrictions. Allowed financing, however, is curtailed: when buying a new home, only 50 per cent of the purchase value may be borrowed. For example, a house worth R500 000 may only be financed for R250 000, half of the full value.