The sharing economy is quickly becoming one of the most appealing and opportunity driven trends of our society. One of the flagship examples and incredibly popular peer-to-peer services is that of Airbnb, quickly followed by a variety of specialty alternatives, which allows you to rent out anything from an entire vacation home to room on your living room couch for the night. While this is great for homeowners and travelers looking for cozy, residential, and affordable accommodations, it does leave a gray area for conscientious renters. Does it count as subletting and are you allowed to sublet? Even if you are, how do you make sure your landlord is okay with renting out your spare bedroom to a series of strangers rather than another lease-signing resident?
What about other sharing economy services like parking space or backyard camping rental? Many renters wonder what, if any, of their rented properties they’re allowed to share with polite strangers for a small profit. The answers to these questions may not be clearly enumerated on your lease, but you should make sure you know before listing.
Are You Allowed to Sublet?
Some rental leases allow subletting (sometimes called subleasing) and will say so clearly on the lease. Subletting is essentially renting out residence in your rental home like secondary roommates, long-term guests, and along these lines, sharing economy guests. Read your lease carefully to determine if you are legally allowed to bring in new tenants who answer to you rather than the landlord or property manager. If so, you are much more likely to at least legally be clear to Airbnb your spare rooms. Another good reason to read the lease closely is to check for any special clauses that might get in the way of other sharing economy services. Most homes, for instance, don’t have any rules about parking spaces, but some apartment buildings do.
The Guest Clause
Even if you’re not officially allowed to sublet, you may still be able to host on Airbnb if you carefully conform to the guest clause. Most leases, especially those that don’t allow subletting, will enumerate how long you can have a guest over, usually no more than a few weeks. Your landlord may not mind your series of unusual guests that happen to pay you as long as you limit their booking times to less than the time guests are allowed to stay with you. Parking is even more innocuous because your parking spot guests probably won’t enter the house but offering your yard for camping might be pushing the boundaries a bit.
Ask Your Landlord
No matter what your lease says, unless there is a clearly worded sharing economy clause, you’ll want to talk to your landlord and property manager before starting to book guests. Many have opinions and you might be surprised how much they appreciate the heads up even if they’re okay with the arrangement. Avoid the awkward discovery scenario by making your intentions clear from the outset and get their blessing to host your guests. If you establish that you plan to take full responsibility for protecting the property, your landlord is much more likely to be okay with your plans.
Keep the Property Safe
Finally, if you are legally allowed to sublet or have short term guests and your landlord has agreed that this is alright in their home and your property manager is cool with the situation, it’s your job to make sure that their approval won’t be regretted. Keep your guests activities on the calm and safe side. Avoid wild parties, try to stick with relaxed people who just want to crash for the night or hang out quietly, and do your best to clean up after them. If one does, for some reason, get out of hand, expect to cover at least part of the repairs.
Hosting lodging guests through Airbnb, Parking guests through ParqEx, and camping guests through CampInMyGarden can be incredibly rewarding and a great way to make a little extra money from space you’re not using. Just remember that if you’re renting, this means taking on some extra responsibility as well for the actions of your guests and their impact on the property. Acknowledging this responsibility right off the bat is the best way to get your landlord on your side and might even persuade them when they would otherwise have reservations. For more great tips to help everyone join the sharing economy, contact us today!