Do you have to own your property to be an Airbnb host? The quick answer is no. However, many factors will influence your ability to host an Airbnb with a leased or rented property. Of course, if you own the house or apartment, it’s a pretty straightforward process.
The latest trend in the accommodation market is undoubtedly Airbnb rentals. Travelers and tourists are leaning more towards renting an Airbnb room, house, or suite than booking a hotel room. Thanks to its popularity, many are turning to Airbnb as a lucrative business option. However, one question still remains unclear for some aspiring Airbnb hosts, “Do you have to own a property before you become a host?”
If you rent or lease, you’ll need to consider your lease agreement, local laws on short-term rentals, and neighborhood regulations and laws.
Before renting out a property, your landlord will provide you with a lease agreement. This document details what you can or cannot do in the space you will take up as a tenant. Various clauses spell out your responsibilities as far as maintaining your space and your landlord’s responsibilities.
Most rental leases have a clause that reads something like this, “You may not sublet this premises without prior written consent from your landlord.” This clause may prove problematic if you are looking to run an Airbnb out of your current space. Some landlords are wary of subletting because of the potential damage to property and nuisance to neighbors. Additionally, should anything go wrong while you have a guest, the landlord may not have much jurisdiction, since their agreement is with you and not your guests.
Reading through your lease agreement will help you avoid a situation where the landlord will be forced to evict you for breach of contract. Additionally, it will help you to decide which properties to take up, since some lease agreements offer flexibility where subletting is concerned. Before signing that dotted line, make sure that you understand every clause.
If your lease agreement gives you the go-ahead to proceed with Airbnb hosting, the next thing to read up on is your local laws. While your landlord may have no issue with your plans to sublet, the local zoning laws may have restrictions or flat out not allow short-term rentals. Some may require hospitality tax to be paid directly by you or by Airbnb and other short term rental platforms you’re using.
Find out what is allowed and not allowed by local laws. Do you require any special licensing to run a bed and breakfast out of your rented space? What are the legal requirements that pertain to running a short-term Airbnb rental? What is the limit of days you can host per year? Avoid being on the wrong side of the law by visiting the necessary offices and clarifying the issues above. Arm yourself with the requisite knowledge and check all the boxes before you start renting out your Airbnb space comfortably.
Ordinances that may restrict short term rentals may be set at the town, village, county or other local government entity. Be sure to contact all of the local jurisdictions where your property resides to cover all of your bases.
If you get the go-ahead to run your Airbnb out of your rented space from local authorities, you still have one more hurdle to pass. These are neighborhood laws and regulations. Different neighborhoods have various rules that residents should adhere to. These include permission to run—or not run—an Airbnb in your rented space. Even if these rules allow you to run such a business, there could be specific neighborhood laws that govern the operations of your Airbnb. Check with local HOA’s and neighborhood associations to be sure you’re in the clear.
Issues like noise, nuisance, and the number of guests allowed in a certain space are some of the concerns that neighborhood regulations will address. You may also have to pay fees and acquire licenses to run an Airbnb in certain areas. Many neighborhood associations prefer to register any business in their location. Furthermore, some neighborhood associations may go as far as asking you to show up for a vetting interview to ascertain your eligibility.
Now that you’re clear on whether you can run an Airbnb out of your rented property, it’s all systems go for your business. However, just like any other business, running an Airbnb has associated risks. These risks are compounded if you are in a rented property.
Some of the risks that you should be aware of include the following:
It is a known fact that you cannot have guests year-round in your Airbnb. At the same time, your rent will still be due regardless of how business is doing. Ensure that you have a buffer for low seasons.
You may have heard stories of tenants who damage property, become a nuisance in the neighborhood, or even overstay their welcome. Well, this could happen to you. Be prepared to deal with such issues from time to time.
While Airbnb is no doubt a profitable business, this fact is not a secret. You may therefore find yourself facing tough competition from other hosts in your area. The business may not pick up as fast as you envisioned or may not bring in the amount of income you had anticipated.
There you have it! You don’t have to own your property to host an Airbnb. You can be a tenant and still host a great short-term rental space. It all boils down to understanding the local laws and agreements of the area where you are currently leasing your space.
Remember, hosting an Airbnb is not guaranteed to be a profitable business. However, if your landlord allows you to run one, go ahead and start with the tips above. It can be a highly profitable business if you do it right.
Rachel Jones is an award-winning writer and editor from Oklahoma City, OK. Her work has been published on influential sites, including Entrepreneur and International Business Times. She spent several years in property management and leasing, handling short-term rentals, student housing, and community rentals. Rachel is also experienced in staging and real estate photography. With a B.A. in English in her back pocket, Rachel combines her passion for property management with her storytelling ability to offer Airbnb hosts helpful advice as they monetize their homes.
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