Down and out: Court orders LGBTIQ+ collective to vacate luxury Camps Bay Airbnb

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Vatheka Halile in the house in Camps Bay.
Vatheka Halile in the house in Camps Bay.
Wewe Ngidi
  • A collective of queer artists has been ordered to vacate a luxury Camps Bay Airbnb.
  • They occupied the property last month and stayed beyond the original booking dates.
  • They indicated they would abide by the court order.

The collective of artists and LGBTQI+ people occupying an Airbnb house in Camps Bay were ordered to vacate the luxury property on Friday.

The Western Cape High Court ruled the group should vacate the property by no later than 8 October.

After arguing that three of them had nowhere to go, the City of Cape Town offered to give them emergency accommodation in Philippi on the grounds that they qualify for it.

The group indicated they would abide by the court order.

READ | Camps Bay collective facing legal action

They gained entrance to the short-term rental last month by raising money through family, friends and supporters and let the agent know what their intentions were as they stayed beyond the original booking dates. 

According to the Airbnb property owners and management's lawyer, advocate Francois Botes, the group had submitted a false application, indicating they were a family of five "looking for a chilled quiet weekend stay".

Botes said the group was occupying the property illegally, because they had booked for the weekend, from Friday 18 September until Sunday 20 September and they were expected to vacate that Monday afternoon, which they refused to do.

Checkout

They did not adhere to a checkout deadline given a few days later.

They said they occupied the property to draw attention to disparities between people struggling for safe accommodation and the potential that often empty "investment" properties provided a solution to this.

During the court proceedings, Sarah Summers, who is part of the collective, requested the court to grant them a three-week postponement as they sought legal representation.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Mokgoatji Josiah Dolamo, told the group it was difficult for him to grant a postponement later during proceedings.

He said a postponement would have unfair implications on the applicants as it would mean they would still have to occupy the Airbnb.

Summers told the court three of them had nowhere to go if they were to be evicted from the mansion.

Ruling

After a couple of adjournments, Dolamo read out an email from the City of Cape Town saying they were going to send the "homeless individuals" an occupier questionnaire to determine whether they were in need of a shelter.

"[If] they qualify, a structure can be made by Thursday 8 October, depending on the weather conditions," said Dolamo.

He ordered the group to vacate the property by no later than noon on Thursday.

Dolamo said if the group failed to do so, they would be evicted from the property and liable for the R50 000 damages suffered in revenue by the Airbnb due to them overstaying their welcome.

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