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The Airbnb Concern: Why Allowing Sublets Can Damage Your Property and How to Prevent It
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The Airbnb Concern: Why Allowing Sublets Can Damage Your Property and How to Prevent It

Learn the hazards to property owners and managers when residents run their own short-term rental operations without your consent and strategies to detect and mitigate the issue

Robert Hill
July 18, 2023

Are you concerned about your residents running Airbnbs out of their apartments? If so, you're not alone. This phenomenon has raised alarm bells for landlords and property managers around the world. Here are some reasons why it's a bad idea to let individual residents run their own Airbnb business on your property, plus effective strategies on how to prevent it.

The Risks of Permitting Short-Term Rentals

1. Increased Wear and Tear

When an apartment unit is rented out through platforms like Airbnb, it typically experiences more frequent use than a long-term rental. Increased foot traffic, multiple check-ins, and check-outs, and less accountability can lead to a faster deterioration of the property. This might necessitate more frequent maintenance and renovations, increasing your overhead costs.

2. Liability and Insurance Issues

Most insurance policies for rental properties do not cover damages or incidents that occur during short-term rentals. If your tenant is running an Airbnb and something happens - a guest gets injured or causes damage - you, as the property owner, could be left holding the bag.

3. Strained Community Relations

Short-term renters often have little regard for community rules and norms because they're just passing through. This could strain relations between long-term residents and transient guests, leading to disputes, increased noise complaints, and overall discord within the apartment complex.

Preventing Airbnb Subletting in Your Property

Now that we understand why allowing Airbnb sublets can be detrimental, how can you prevent this activity in your property?

1. Clear Lease Agreements

Make sure the lease agreement clearly states that subletting is not allowed without your explicit consent. It's important to explicitly mention short-term rentals like Airbnb to avoid any ambiguity. If a tenant violates these terms, there should be stipulated consequences such as fines or eviction.

2. Regular Property Inspections

Conducting regular property inspections can help you keep tabs on whether your tenants are using the property appropriately. You can schedule these inspections quarterly, semi-annually, or as frequently as your local laws allow.

3. Leverage Technology

There are several technological solutions that can alert you when your property is listed on a short-term rental site. Companies like Sublet Alert monitor hundreds of rental websites and will notify you if they spot your property.  Also, using OpenVia for access management can help you spot unusual visitor patterns among your residents.  

4. Building Relationships with Your Tenants

Fostering a positive relationship with your tenants can discourage them from subletting without your knowledge. Regularly communicate with them and address their concerns promptly. If they understand your position and feel valued, they're more likely to respect the rules.

5. Swift Action on Rule Breakers

Should you find a tenant violating the rules, take swift and decisive action. Enforce the consequences laid out in your lease agreement to deter other tenants from following suit.

While the appeal of short-term rentals like Airbnb is undeniable, it's essential for property owners and managers to understand the potential risks involved in allowing short-term rental operations to be run on their property without their knowledge. By implementing clear policies, regular inspections, and open communication with tenants, you can ensure that your property remains in great condition, your liability is minimized, and your residential community is harmonious. Remember, in property management, prevention is always better than cure.


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Robert Hill

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