As short term rental websites like Airbnb become more popular more and more individuals are using them to make extra money. As the popularity of these sites rises more property owners are finding out that their properties are being advertised and rented out by their tenants without the property owner's knowledge or permission. On one forum a property owner reported that he found his own rental on Airbnb with a 5 star rating and his tenants listing it as their property. Another owner realized their property was being used as a short term rental when they saw the water bill drastically increase over a short period. This trend is particularly troubling as new state and local regulations may impose taxes on short term rentals and some locations have made short term rentals illegal. These new laws and taxes can put property owners at a major financial and legal risk if their tenants use the property as a short term rental.
Nolo's article aimed at helping tenants make Airbnb work for them and their landlords can give landlords some insight on how to protect themselves from tenants that are abusing their properties by listing them on short term rental websites.
1) Look up local laws on short term rentals in your area. If you’re a property owner or manager review local and state rental laws in order to stay current with new regulations and taxes. It is important for you to understand any potential legal and financial exposure you face if your tenant lists your property on a site like Airbnb
2) Make sure you have an airtight lease the clearly states that tenants cannot sublet any or all of the rental without the owners written consent. Putting a sticky note on the side of new leases to clarify this includes short term rentals can prevent any confusion and make it clear to tenants that they cannot use the rental apartment for short term rentals.
If a tenant violates the lease by having short term rental guests without your permission you likely are able to evict them right away. However, it may not always be in your best interest to evict your tenants for violating the lease especially if they are good tenants that pay rent on time and keep the rental clean. Giving the tenants a warning before evicting them and ensuring they have paid any short term rental taxes owed may save you money and hardship in the future. In addition, reporting the abuse to the short term rental website your property was listed on (and also searching other websites for it and contacting them if your property is listed) can give you an extra security blanket to ensure tenants cannot post your rental again.
An effective Property management system can protect you from falling victim to tenants using your property as a short term rental. RISSOFT’s software for property management can track utility usage and can help you spot a large increase that could mean short term tenants are using the property.
This post is provided by RISSOFT Residential and Commercial Property Management Software, specializing in innovative and cutting-edge property management software for all 50 states. Request a demo or contact us today to receive more information.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.