Thursday, April 05, 2018

Airbnb… is my tenant two-timing me?

If you have recently booked yourself a holiday home, there's a strong chance that you used an online booking website such as Airbnb or Stayz. These online systems are now becoming the norm in many coastal and tourist cities or towns. They allow you to book your holiday accommodation directly and live like a local, all at a fraction of the cost of a hotel stay. 

These platforms can create extra cash flow for a home owner who is looking to rent out their property sporadically throughout the year. And with over 50 million Airbnb users, it's a popular alternative to hotel accommodation. 

But it's not just home owner's that are looking to make the most of it...

Some tenants are taking advantage of the Airbnb trend and are subletting their property on the weekend or a few days a month for a bit of extra cash... and it's not going down well with many landlords when they see their property on Airbnb.

So, if you find yourself in this situation, what do you need to know?

The first thing is to work out whether you are OK with your tenant subletting. And it's a personal question. Some landlords see it as a way to help ensure their tenants are never in arrears again - and given the property needs to be in the same condition it was leased in, they may see this as a positive. Others, it's an absolute no. 

Remember, tenants must seek written consent from their landlord should they wish to sublet their property, otherwise they'll be in breach of the obligations under their lease. Being all over this is important, especially if your tenant is doing it without your knowledge. Whilst you cannot unreasonably withhold your consent, you do have a say.

If you are OK with this, you still need to get over the second hurdle. Airbnb is typically for tenants staying less than three months in the property, which means it is deemed a 'short term' rental under legislation.  And as such, you/your tenant may be in breach of various regulations without even knowing. You many also be contravening local laws (such as strata by-laws or zoning stipulations) and hefty fines can apply. 

Compliance is essential. Check with your insurer that you are covered for short term rentals and ensure items such as your smoke alarms, appliances, gas connections and pool are certified and meet compliance standards.

As a landlord, or a tenant, it's important to understand how these types of businesses such as Airbnb can impact you. If you'd like to chat further, please feel free to give myself or someone from our team a call, we'd love to hear from you! 

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