The rise of short-term rental companies like Airbnb has both disrupted the hospitality industry and made it possible for some homeowners to generate a new stream of income. If you’re thinking of renting out your property on Airbnb, it’s important that you have a thorough understanding of the codes and regulations pertaining to short-term rentals. In addition, there are other concerns that may come with opening your home up to strangers. Specifically, you have to ask yourself, what are the legal risks of renting your home on Airbnb? Here are a few things to consider before you list your home on any short-term rental site:
Every city has their own laws for regulating short-term rentals. Some municipalities have outlawed them completely. Before you list your home, make sure that you are legally allowed to do so in your neighborhood. Failure to do so could result in a hefty citation.
In some cities, short-term rentals are treated as a type of business. If this is the case in your city, you may be required to obtain a business license or other type of permit.
Airbnb does not share data about its renters with local government. That means that your city does not really have any way of knowing how much money you’re making by renting your home through Airbnb. However, the does not release you from your tax obligations. You are still responsible for paying taxes on any income you earn via Airbnb.
If you decide to list a home or apartment that you are rent on Airbnb, you should first take a good look at your lease agreement to see if you are permitted to sublease the property. Many rental agreements have rules against subleasing. Even if you are only renting your home out for a few days, you could still be violating your lease by doing so. There are many documented cases of people being evicted from their homes once their landlords learned that they were acting as Airbnb hosts.
Most Airbnb customers are clean, responsible, and respectful of the homes they are renting. However, if the unexpected happens, will your current insurance coverage be enough to cover any damages? Even if your guests are as responsible as they come, accidents like house fires happen every day. Make sure that your property is protected and consider increasing your insurance coverage if necessary.
Speaking of insurance, you also have to be prepared in the event that someone is injured in your home. You should make sure that you have adequate liability insurance, but there are other ways you can make your home a safer place. Make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are always in good working order. Scan your home for other potential hazards such as exposed wires, raised floorboards, or ventilation issues.
Becoming an Airbnb host is not without its risks, however, with proper planning it could serve to be a very profitable stream of income for you and your family. If you do your homework ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of legal and financial problems down the road.