What Foreigners Need to Know About Renting or Buying Property in South Africa

Owning property in South Africa is steadily increasing and many professionals view the country as a business gateway into Africa. Coupled with the fact that, the rand’s value in comparison to major foreign currencies makes for an attractive investment for residential property. It has become common place for many of South Africa’s more affluent suburbs to have a large number of foreign home owners using it for business, pleasure or an investment to flip and turn a profit at a later stage.

Whatever the reason may be for you considering owning property in South Africa, you’ll need to know adhere to the following regulations.

Buying Property in South Africa:

Property can be owned individually, jointly in undivided shares or by an entity such as a company, close corporation or trust or a similar entity registered outside South Africa. – Pam Golding

South Africa’s Deed Registries are known to be on a high-standard and is said to be one of the best deeds registration systems in the world.

Non-Residents aren’t restricted to own property in South Africa, but there are certain requirements and circumstances that come into play:

  • The applicant should register entities that are registered outside of South Africa, locally.
  • A South African resident public officer should be appointed if a local company’s shared are owned by a non-resident.
  • If the non-resident plans on residing in the country for longer periods they should apply for a residency permit.

Note that certain countries’ residents are exempt from visas to visit or stay in South Africa for three months or less. This makes property ownership ideal for those investors planning annual holidays or short visits in SA.

Due to our high-interest rates, most foreign investors who require finance will do so abroad, but non-residents can apply for a home loan from a South African financial institution. – Property 24

Renting Property in SA as a Non-Resident

In order to rent property in South Africa you have to possess a permanent residence permit, or a valid visa that permits the individual to study, work or do business for a limited period. Legal foreigners are allowed to rent property under the above-mentioned conditions.

Renting a property to a foreigner could pose a possible risk for the landlord. The owner of the property will consider the following:

  • Legal foreigner status: The landlords will check whether the individual is in the country legally, follow up with their employees, and double-check your passport and visa details. Aiding and abetting an illegal foreigner is a criminal offence, and going through the background check and in some cases, the unwanted additional expenses for the landlord could prevent them from considering your application.
  • Duration of Stay in South Africa: If the applicant only moved to the country recently, it might be tricky to contact their previous landlords or check the validation of their references. Communication complications with non-residents that speak a foreign language will also be considered.
  • Non-Residents Can’t be Blacklisted: Foreign tenants that don’t pay their rent don’t face the same consequences as South African citizens. This also poses a risk for the landlord should the tenant default on their rent.

Owning a piece of Africa

Wheather you’re planning to own a nice retirement cottage, a holiday getaway home or want to move your business into Africa, South Africa is a great place to consider planting your feet down and spreading your roots. If you’re not fully convinced you can always try the rental option to get a better feel of what the country has to offer you before making any serious commitments.

Speak to a professional

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa specialists about your visa application. Start by selecting one of the enquiry options below

Posted in blog, Legal Advice, Live In SA and tagged .


  1. Can a foreigner (retiring in SA) rent a property in SA and pay the SA owner overseas (ie into a foreign bank account owned by the property owner), which owner will declare that income to SARS as ‘worldwide income’?

  2. I was hoping to find out if I can rent out a property with a relative visa which states that I CAN NOT WORK AS i HAD ALREADY INVESTED BEFORE I GOT THE VISA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *