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  • Writer's picturePorter DeVries

What Landlords Should Know About Airbnb

The fact is that times are changing, and traditional relationships between landlords and tenants can be complicated with new technologies. If you are unfamiliar, the company Airbnb lets everyday people rent out their condos, houses, and apartments to others online for a short stay. This alternative to the otherwise monopolizing hotel industry has made it possible for more people to travel and go on vacation while staying in their budget. While the rest of the world may welcome this invention with open arms, as a landlord, Airbnb is definitely something you should be wary of.

Airbnb and You

Airbnb becomes problematic for many landlords because most are unaware that their tenants are subletting their apartment for profit. Because those who book their stays on the website only stay for days at a time, that means you will have unknown visitors constantly shuffling on and off of your property. You have no way of screening these visitors. In addition, you should take into account the potential effects to your property by having strangers come and go — think of extra wear and tear and a spike in utilities.

A New Way of Subletting

A tenant renting out their space to others should be considered a form of subletting. And while some landlords may allow it, there are some cities that strictly prohibit this type of subletting which would be categorized as a short-term rental (STR). If your property is in violation of this local ordinance, know that you can be held liable, even if your tenant was using Airbnb without your knowledge.

How to Avoid the Problem

The best way to avoid the situation of Airbnb altogether, especially if you don’t allow your tenants to traditionally sublet their space, would be to include a clause in the lease agreement that strictly forbids short-term rentals. To be specific, you should define the businesses that provide this service, such as Airbnb, HomeAway, or even Make it clear that these tenants are strictly forbidden from offering their properties on these websites.

How to Make it Work For You

In the event that you are not opposed to traditional subletting and you are open-minded to this new entrepreneurial trend, there are ways you can protect yourself in the lease agreement and even come out profitable. First, you should include that the tenant will be held liable for any STR fines or violations. Secondly, make sure that if you allow Airbnb, that you earn some percentage of the tenant’s profits. Thirdly, make sure you charge tenants an extra security deposit for the wear and tear of the property.

Seek Professional Advice

These are just some ideas, but the best course of action would be to seek legal counsel so that you know you may be protected in whatever scenario may arise. Call the offices of DeVries & Associates today at our Honolulu office at 808-465-2500 or our Kailua Kona office at 808-339-3200 to learn more.

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