Should landlords allow their tenants to sublease or rent out their units on Airbnb?
It’s becoming far more common. It can make a lot of sense for your renters to want to do it. Though should landlords allow it? If not, what are some better alternatives?
Airbnb & Subleasing
Most landlords will already have lease forms which do not allow the assignment of those leases or subleasing. Yet, with millions of listings on Airbnb alone, and millions staying in them each night, you can bet some of those are rented apartments.
You may find some of your tenants are sub-leasing their apartments to other renters on Craigslist when they need to move or choose to buy a home before their leases are up. Others may be renting out one of the bedrooms or floor space in the living room on Airbnb and couch surfing websites.
Why Tenants Do It
There are two main reasons renters do this.
The first is they are coming in specifically with the anticipation of offsetting their own rent by renting out some of the space. Maybe an extra bedroom or two.
The second reason is that they can no longer afford it. Are doing it to make up for a gap in their income.
Others don’t want to be chased down for money if they break a lease and move out early to either relocate for work or to buy homes of their own.
According to statistics from Airbnb in some cities, even renting out a room, 60% of the time could pay 90% to 106% of the median area 2 bedroom apartment rent. So, the host can essentially live for free.
Why Landlords Shouldn’t Allow It
On the one hand, this may help ensure your rent is paid. That’s always a good thing.
Unfortunately, we live in a highly litigious society. You want to know who is in your units, be sure they are insured and have clear legal agreements to protect your assets and ability to evict them if necessary.
If your renters start bringing in other paying guests, that can create Airbnb liability issues and a lot of legal confusion if there are disputes between them, or you need to vacate the unit.
What if they fall and get hurt? What if they don’t pay your tenants? What if they won’t leave? What if they wouldn’t have qualified to get into your apartment community in the first place?
Rules and systems can be good, though there can be some smart alternatives to avoid these situations.
The most obvious is allowing applicants and shared apartments. Only one of them may need to qualify to afford it and guarantee the lease, but if they plan on having roommates, they should be registered and approved as residents upfront.
If your tenants really fall into a bad financial situation and can’t afford the rent, it makes sense to let them go. Trying to force them to stay and pay the rent they can no longer afford or spending money to chase them down can be counterproductive. It can be costly and lead to more damage and disruption on site.
If someone needs to move on before the lease is up, work with them. Perhaps offering a graceful exit with no penalties if they find you a replacement. Just sign a new lease with that new tenant and avoid the sublease situation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Zahller is the President of Park Capital Properties and resides in Asheville, NC. As a Multifamily Real Estate Investor and Syndicator, he founded Park Capital Properties in 2016 after 14 years involvement in real estate investment. He works with accredited investors and professionals who are interested in real estate investment, diversification, and financial freedom.
Bill has been flying since high school. His father was a Naval Aviator and Captain for TWA. Bill has been flying professionally for over 25 years, 23 of those at his current company. He has accumulated over 12,000 hours and 7 Jet type ratings. He has also held Instructor, IOE Instructor and NRFO pilot positions with a large fractional flight company. He is currently flying the Global 6000 in a long range mission capacity. This keeps it interesting – one week its Beijing or Sydney; the next Rio or Rome.
Bill is also the founder of the Asheville Multifamily Investor Club. Visit www.ParkCapitalProperties.com for more information.