Ultimate Guide to Airbnb Licensing requirement in Kenya

This is by far the best guide to registration and licensing of Airbnb Business In Kenya

In 2021, the Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) enacted new regulations on the registration and licensing of Airbnb facilities in Kenya. These regulation covers serviced (furnished) flats and apartments, villas, homestays, condominiums, tree houses, floatels, bandas, beach cottages, holiday cottages, tented camps, and timeshares.

  1. Licensing

To register with the TRA and be issued a regulatory licence,  you need to first make an application. The application fee is fee of Kshs. 1,000/ payable once. There is also an annual licence fee for each unit .

Once you make payment for application and the annual licese fee, you provide these documents:

  • A duly filled application form;
  • The original deposit slip/advise for the application & license fee (proof of payment);
  • Tariff/rack rates;
  • A copy of Title Deed/Lease Agreement for the premises;
  • Copies of ID’s/ passport if one is an individual and a Certificate of Incorporation for a Company; and
  • A copy of the applicant’s PIN Certificate.

The annual licence fee to be paid varies with the type of Airbnb: serviced flats & apartments, villas, holiday cottages, and timeshares are charged a license fee of Kshs. 26,000/= per year; Beach cottages, tree houses are charged Kshs. 21,000/= per year. Hostels and guest houses are charged Kshs. 11,000/= per year. Homestays are charged between Kshs. 1,000/= to Kshs. 3,000/= per year depending on its location.

Before issuance of the license, the TRA will dispatch an officer to inspect the premises and confirm if the Airbnb has complied with the standards and requirements listed in the First Schedule of the Tourism Regulatory Authority Regulations, 2014.

Please click here to get more information on the standards and requirements one is required to comply with. Failure to comply with the standards and requirements set by the TRA will lead to suspension of your licence and closure of your Airbnb business.

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Penalties & Offences

(a)  An application for renewal of the TRA licence must be made within 3 months prior to expiry of the licence. Failure to make the application for renewal attracts a penalty of 10% of the license fee for each month they are in default; and

(b)  Failure to apply for a licence or furnish the licence upon request exposes the host to a fine of Kshs.100,000/= or a jail term of up to 18 months or both; and.

Other licences to be procured

(a)   NEMA Licence

A NEMA license is required for your airbnb business to show environmental compliance. Section 98(5)(c) of the Tourism Act, imposes an obligation on a host/owner of an Airbnb to procure an environmental impact assessment licence (NEMA licence) over the premise.

(b)  Single Business Permit

 An Airbnb is regarded as an income-generating business as such the host is required to obtain a business permit from the County Government allowing the him/her to run the business.

(c)   Home Insurance

It’s important to obtain home insurance to insure the premises and all the belongings in it against life’s unexpected events such as damage, fire, theft, natural causes, or other losses. The plan can further be extended to cover your Airbnb’s employees and occupiers against any liability arising from an accident or incident occurring on the premises.

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Ready to start? Here is a guide on How to start and operate Airbnb in Kenya. Once you read that, identity the the Best Airbnb Markets in Kenya and remember to read this Ultimate Guide to Taxation of Airbnb in Kenya

Here are some Frequently asked questions

Is Airbnb taxable in Kenya?

Yes. All income from your Airbnb in Kenya is taxable whether you are a resident person or non-resident person.

How much does Airbnb charge in Kenya?

Airbnb’s platform charges a commission of approximately three percent of the guest’s total payment.

Do you pay VAT on Airbnb?

Airbnb charges VAT on its service fees for customers.

Provision of accommodation through serviced apartments, flats, holiday villas, beach cottages and villas, bandas, safari camps for short stays of less than a month are subject to VAT at 16%. Further, a serviced flat or apartment (although for rent longer than one month) which is not under a lease or license is also subject to VAT at 16%. 

What licenses do I need for Airbnb in Kenya?

You need a license from the Tourism Regulatory Authority, County Government license and you may need a license from NEMA.

Is Airbnb Profitable in Kenya?

Yes. Airbnb business in Kenya holds significant profit potential.

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