To B&B or not to B&B?

In my capacity as KZN Councillor of the National Accommodation Association, I often get asked by people wanting to open up a Bed & Breakfast and existing B&B owners, what all the requirements are. I have put together a checklist of legal requirements for running a B&B to help accommodation establishments run legally compliant establishments.

Special Consent, Business Licence, Sale of Food Business Licence, belong to your local Community Tourism Organisation, register with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

  1. To run a business from a residential property, not just a B&B, you need to apply for, and receive Special Consent. This is done through your local Municipality’s Town Planning Office. It involves getting neighbours’ consent, and complying with Municipality’s requirements regarding, health & safety, environment, Metro Traffic etc. This is a once-off application.
  2. If you are going to have a Conference Centre, a Spa etc., there is an additional set of requirements for this when you do your Special Consent. For example, a Conference Room catering for 16 to 30 people, requires an additional seven toilets, above and beyond what you already have in the B&B.
  3. Once you have your Special Consent approval, you must apply for a Business Licence and a Sale of Food Business Licence. These are done through the Municipality’s Licencing Department and you need to renew annually.
  4. If you are going to serve and/or sell Liquor on your premises (e.g. a Bar Fridge in a communal area, or in the guests’ rooms), or host functions where Alcohol will be served, a Liquor Licence is needed. You get this from the Liquor Authority. I recommend that you use a specialist Consultant to facilitate your licence, and you can then handle the annual renewal applications yourself.
  5. By law, all Tourism-related businesses must be registered with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DEDTEA), also referred to as Tourism KZN. Once registered there is an annual renewal process.
  6. To register with DEDTEA, you must belong to a local Community Tourism Organisation (CTO). There is an annual fee for this.
  7. To belong to your local CTO, you must provide proof that you have Public Liability Insurance of at least R50 million. You should have a specialist Hospitality Insurance policy. Check out Bryte Insurance‘s B&B Sure Policy.

Everything above is compulsory. Here are some voluntary associations that are highly recommended:

  1. Having your establishment star graded with the Tourism Grading Council of Southern Africa ( There is an annual inspection, for which you pay.
  2. Belonging to a group like the National Accommodation Association ( Annual fees apply.

Disclaimer: Requirements do change from time to time, so check with your local authorities and legal counsel, exactly what is required for your specific area.

There are some pretty hefty fines for non-compliant establishments. This article should at least steer you in the right direction.

Yours in Hospitality, Emma Jacobs

Co-owner: Westville B&B and 18 Burlington B&B and Conference Centre.

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