If you’re thinking about renting your room or property out on Airbnb, make sure that if you have a landlord, you get his or her permission. To prepare for that discussion, there are some things you can do to equip yourself so you know what to ask and how to ask it.
Read Your Rental Agreement
First, read your rental agreement. It most likely has a clause that disallows you from subletting your apartment without your landlord’s permission. You need to be careful that you don’t violate this stipulation since technically, your landlord can evict you if you violate the terms of your agreement.
But, not all hope is lost. If you’ve developed a solid relationship with your landlord, he or she may be willing to allow you to sublet periodically. If you live in a rent-controlled apartment in a bigger city like New York and are paying a below-market rent, your landlord may be seeking pretext to kick you out of the apartment, so avoid giving him a reason to do so.
Check Your Local Laws
Many zoning laws prohibit short-term rental hosting; which describes subletting your apartment via Airbnb. Double check you local laws before you even think about renting out your apartment. For details, see the Nolo article Legal Restrictions to Renting Your Home on Airbnb or Other Rental Services. And, make sure you do a Google search about your area as there might be new laws being discussed or in the process of being implemented. In some cases, states like Idaho, have implemented laws as the state level that determine how much tax hosts must pay, but also provide some protection to homeowners.
Talk to Your Landlord
Unfortunately, many Airbnb hosts never tell their landlords about their Airbnb activity. While you may get away with this for some time, it will certainly backfire and over time, you may be evicted. While your short-term revenue generation may feel like it trumps the discomfort you feel when you run into your landlord, this minor pain will seem insignificant to the awkward situation you’ll find yourself when all is revealed.
As mentioned earlier, talk to landlord and get his or her permission before you ever list your apartment on Airbnb or another short-term hosting site. (See How to Sublet a Rental Unit for more on the subject.)
In order to get your landlord to agree, you’ll need to think about how this activity might benefit your landlord. The most likely option is to cut your landlord into the rental activity–perhaps at 40-50%. In one example, a San Francisco landlord permitted his tenants to list their rented home on Airbnb for 20% of the revenue. Alternatively, you might consider paying your landlord a higher monthly rental fee if he allows you to rent your home on Airbnb. You might also ask if reducing your rental frequency would help your landlord to agree to your proposal. Whatever direction you take, ensure that you ultimately articulate your agreement in writing.