If you’re a landlord or property manager, you’ve likely heard of Airbnb. In fact, you may have had issues with the company and the people who use it already, particularly if you live in a major city such as Washington D.C., New York, or Philadelphia. The site, and others like it, allow people to offer their homes, apartments, or other spaces to travelers who are passing through for a brief time. However, “it is illegal to rent out an apartment for fewer than 30 days, unless the host is present, and landlords are especially concerned about tenants flouting the law because owners are on the hook for any fines levied by the city.”
Airbnb has been a unique business with the first steps toward a likely larger market. The concept is straightforward: “a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging.” It has been an enormous help both to tourists who may not be able to find an affordable or even any available places to stay, while also bolstering the income of people living in high-rent, populous cities. However, there have been a number of issues with the service, both within the business’ functioning and how it relates to and affects the areas in which it works.
As an example, many leases expressly forbid tenants from participating in this kind of program and renting out their (already-rented) properties to others. In fact, it’s illegal in a number of places. Despite this, landlords are unable to stop a behavior that some people flat-out own up to and others are very careful and secretive about, despite the threat of eviction or legal action. It’s the landlords who are hit the hardest with fines and fees, considering (varying) monetary penalties “between $10,000 and $50,000,” in New York, at least.
What can be done about this? It isn’t as if landlords can keep an eye on every property at all times of the day and night, let alone know who is coming and going (and if they’re just visitors or users of Airbnb and other services). Many have already included clauses to their tenants’ leases to reaffirm that this practice isn’t allowed, and others still are “adding cameras, hiring private investigators or implementing new lock systems to catch tenants engaging in the practice.”
Perhaps more disturbingly, it isn’t only casual explorers and out-of-towners who are causing the issues here. There is a whole branch of the Airbnb clientele referred to as “professional tenants” who are people, often real estate brokers, who rent units from landlord and then advertise on Airbnb to turn a profit. It’s shocked landlords, lawyers, and lawmakers, all who are surprised how explosive the company has become and who never thought that clauses would need to be added to leases to address these particular issues.
Luckily, many of the lawsuits that have come about as a result seem to be turning in favor of the landlords, which is a good sign. One of the many complaints against Airbnb from both landlords and the people who use the service is that there is very little safety and security involved in the process. Many tenants who are renting out their properties have no way of knowing what kind of people will be living in their space, potentially causing damage or stealing. Conversely, those who are looking to stay briefly in this units may be mislead with false information and images, or just find their sleep away location to be unkempt.
Without a solid and reliable system in place, property management and working with residents becomes even more of a trial than it usually can be. Keep all of your information organized and in one place with SKYLINE so that you can focus on the more difficult issues, such as working with your tenants to make sure everyone is happy and sticking to their lease agreements. Anton Systems offers training with the SKYLINE property management software so that your job will be easier on a day to day basis. Then, you can focus on building relationships with tenants to foster honesty, trust, and happiness, keeping your reliable renters on the property and making them think twice about renting out illegally to others. SKYLINE is highly adaptable, customization and addresses all of your residential (and other) property needs with no problem at all.