Renting out your place as an Airbnb has gained immense popularity, especially for those who want to rent out their place in cities like New York City or San Francisco. Residents want to advertise their apartment listings and want to earn some extra income to supplement their lifestyle. But there are rules that you must abide by. You don’t want to get caught and face an eviction.
What is an Airbnb
For those of you not familiar with Airbnb, it’s an online community that allows owners or tenants the ability to list a room or their entire home online. It’s not different from a hotel or bed and breakfast experience. Guests can book unique rooms around the world and enjoy unique experiences you may not be able to find anywhere else.
It’s even possible that Airbnb is cheaper and offers a better experience for many guests. Did you know that some guests prefer Airbnb. Many people look for a location near restaurants, or in a certain neighborhood or park. Guests like vacation rentals with lots of amenities and great views. The check in process and booking is seamless in most of the cases.
As the popularity of the platform surges, many tenants who occupy apartments are leasing out their individual spaces to other people. As Covid appears in our rearview mirror, more and more of the population is now getting back to the normal flow of life. This means traveling. If you live in a city or areas that attracts tourists, providing an Airbnb experience may be in the cards for you. But before you create an Airbnb account and list your space, you want to make sure you conform with the rules set by your landlord.
Review your Lease and the Local Laws
The first step in the process is actually deciphering if this is legal. This means digging out your apartment lease and giving it a thorough read-over. Many years ago before Airbnb even existed, most leases didn’t include this kind of language. In today’s marketplace, it’s entirely different. Many landlords explicitly prohibit the ability for their tenant to lease out their home using a listing service like Airbnb or any other platform.
Most leases will include some sort of language that the tenant must seek the written approval of the landlord. Look, the landlord doesn’t want the renter giving access to a random stranger they don’t know. You can’t blame them, after all the landlord might actually be held liable if some unforeseen event occurs. Other times, strangers don’t care for the property like a person who actually lives there does.
The next item you need to be aware of are the local laws in your city and state. Please research any laws before you attempt to lease out your apartment. You can find more information about any local regulations that may apply to you here. You will find that most local laws won’t prohibit short term rentals in the US. What you will find are that there are codes of ordinance.
Pay all of the Required Taxes
Hosts will want to comply with the local tax laws. You will want to make sure that all fees are paid to the state, city, county, and any other agencies. The host will normally be responsible for collecting taxes and then remitting them to the appropriate government agencies. Check to make sure about any registration and permitting that might be required too. You might be lucky enough if you live in a certain city. Airbnb and other hosting websites may actually collect all the taxes on your behalf. This means calculating them as well. If you have any additional questions you will want to contact Airbnb or a local tax attorney.
Screening the Occupants
Want to know the best way to avoid any unforeseen problems or issues that may arise? Be sure and screen all of the guests who stay in the apartment. This will certainly help you avoid any evictions or costly problems. By simply taking time and Googling any information you have from the guest, you might avoid a disaster. Airbnb does provide damage protection of up to 1 million dollars. Be sure and read up on the exclusions. For example you won’t be reimbursed for an earthquake. But you must act quickly. Airbnb says all claims must be submitted within 14 days of the guests’ stay.
Negotiating with your Landlord
There are many Airbnb hosts that really never tell their landlord what they are doing. In many cases, it probably works out ok. As long as the guests don’t damage anything on the property and the landlord never drops in unannounced, things may actually work out.
Many renters get caught when their neighbors report them to the landlord. Look, the best way to avoid any of this is simply have a conversation with the landlord and get their written permission to list the home on one of the many hosting sites.
If your landlord flat out says “no”, then you will have some work cut out for you. The first step is to find out what concerns they have. It may have to do with money. You might consider splitting a part of the proceeds with the landlord. You might even offer to pay a price that is higher than what is listed in your list.
If you can get the landlord to agree, again make sure it is in writing. You might also call your insurance company and find out about any rental insurance you might desire to purchase. If you cannot get them to agree, then simply don’t do it!
Budget for Maintenance and Cleanup
Although most landlords are responsible for repairs, if you’re using the property as an Airbnb, chances are you might have to pay for the day to day repairs that are needed. Be sure and have the number of a good handyman that can take care of day to day issues.
Also, you will have to have the property cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning companies can cost several hundred dollars to clean an entire home. Be prepared, it may not be cheap. You can certainly add the cleaning fee to the bill that the guest will pay
Make sure the rules are written out
Be sure and have all of your house rules in writing that the guests must abide by. This will prevent any conflict and clearly lay out what the guest can and cannot do. For example, can the guest bring dogs with them?