Can I Host an Airbnb Without Owning It?

You can run an Airbnb without owning the property you are hosting. This, however, requires that you have permission to do so. Listing a property with Airbnb without working through the property owner could be a violation of your rental contract. Most leases do not allow for what is called sub-letting. In addition; you need to make sure your local zoning laws allow for short-term rentals (Airbnb).

The reason is probably obvious, the owner of the rental wants to be able to approve and qualify the tenants in their house or apartment building. Nothing would be worse than having your landlord confront your guest when they didn’t even know you were subletting. Under most rental contracts this could get you evicted.

With the above in mind; consider approaching your landlord and present a proposition of splitting the cost. They might be open to this.

You can also look for homeowners who are out of town and don’t want to be bothered with being a landlord. You can explain your deal and give them their asking rent and you get the remaining and you will be responsible for the guests and listing their house with Airbnb. They will have no worries and you will be responsible for any day to day issues with the house.

Can I Rent Out One Room on Airbnb?

The assumption, again, being that you don’t actually own the property and are renting.

Renting out a room, or the entire rental property usually falls within the scope of the rental agreement you signed. Look for verbiage like “Tenant will not sublet all or part of the property without the Landlord’s written consent”.

You cannot sublet withou the landlord’s consent

What Happens if Something Major Breaks?

If something major happens (like a heater or air conditioner goes out) make sure you have this addressed in your rental agreement with the owner. You, as a renter, are not normally responsible for things like the air conditioner or furnace. Talk with your lawyer and make sure the agreement makes legal sense.

What should my agreement Look like?

There is actually several ways to approach this.

You can sign the lease with the owner, like any of their other tenants with the allowance of subletting; or you can work out a deal in which it does NOT have you sign a long term contract. You have a written agreement that works out the details of your arrangement.

Are you only committed to the monthly rent? Maybe 10% more if the landlord allows you to sublease? What will you do if the landlord isn’t timely with repairs? Are you willing to pony up the money to get someone in there sooner?

The cleaning as a guest leaves would fall to you.

Also ask yourself how are you are going to greet the tenant? It’s assumed if you are taking the responsibility then the landlord should not be the one to handle this. (read article on How to Manage an Airbnb from a Distance).

You will need to explain to the owner how the insurance works with Airbnb (read my article on “Is Airbnb’s Aircoverage worth it?).

How Can I End This Agreement?

You need to consider how both you and the owner (landlord) are going to end this should one or both of you decide to go on their own way.

Let’s say your landlord sees that you are making money that she could be getting and decides to end your agreement. You need to make sure your lawyer takes this into account when you work up an agreement. If your landlord does not have to give you a notice you could be left with having to cancel your future bookings. And that is frowned upon greatly by Airbnb.

What if, instead you require the landlord to give you a 60 day notice and you book out only for 60 days at a time. Keep in mind, if you actually sign, say, a year long lease you do NOT want the landlord to be able to end your lease without just cause after just 60 days. That gives you all the responsibility and risk and the landlord very little.

You will have some upfront costs, such as the furnishings. If your landlord ends the agreement after 60 days you will have to do something with these furnishing and haul them someplace. Think these things through.

What I am trying to say is there is a fine line between not committing yourself to a long-term rental agreement and being able to get out of the rental agreement if it’s not profitable for you. The long-term rental agreement can protect you from a landlord wanting to take over – but it also puts the risk back on you to make Airbnb work when it might not be your cup of tea.

Think about how the contract should or could be ended

Should I ask for Some Set Up Time?

There is no hard and fast rule here. It is going to take you a little bit of time to have your furniture purchased, delivered, and set-up. You will also have a learning curve to figure out how Airbnb works and posting your listing with photos. You don’t want to be paying for a full months rent only to find that your area is really slow this time of year and it’s going to be a couple weeks out (months?!) out before you get any bookings.

Just as with any Airbnb – know your area well and also know if there are off-seasons.

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need?

Airbnb has coverage of up to 1 million on damages done by the guest and injuries or damages done to the guest. It has limited coverage on your personal items.

You need to make sure your insurance will cover you in case Airbnb does not. This may be a business insurance or a type of rental insurance. It varies from company to company and locale. Be very specific and see it in writing. You can write out your questions and have your agent respond by email.

Think about such things as; what happens if the place gets robbed between guests? Airbnb does not cover that – does your renters insurance? your business insurance? What about if a tree falls and damages the building? The assumption would be the landlord’s insurance would pay for that – is that their understanding as well? Read the article ” is-airbnbs-insurance-coverage-aircover-any-good”.

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