I have a guest that has booked a stay March 24-April 28. She has not arrived yet. So far I have received 4 letters in her name from Geico. I am not comfortable with that. Unfortunately though it was not in my house rules ( I have added it since.) would it be wrong of me to reach out to her now and tell her I am not allowing mail even though it wasn’t in the rules when she booked? I have been renting my master bedroom suite long term for the past 5 years without any problems, mostly traveling nurses. I have had people get packages here but not mail. I just don’t want any opening for someone to try to declare residency or something. Thanks for your help.
Conveniently just over the amount of time to establish residency.
Then maybe you’re overdue. Do you have the tenants sign a real lease?
I’m not one of those hosts who worries about mail. I get misaddressed mail here all the time and have for decades. It takes far more than mail to establish residency. However, this combined with length of stay is worth spending a little time on. I’d ask the guest about it as a starting point, not asking us. Then if you are uncomfortable with her replies, go from there. If you don’t have a lease, make sure you get one signed ASAP, before she arrives.
I don’t know where you are located but if you’re in the US she is likely considered a tenant with a stay of that length. And a tenant has a right to receive mail. It is illegal for you to deny it.
And it’s nothing to worry about it anyway. It doesn’t change the facts of the situation.
Yes, it would be inconsiderate of you and if it wasn’t in your rules at the time she booked, then she can ignore it anyway.
Legally, as a tenant, she would be entitled to get mail so you should check with your local authority to see if that applies in your area.
I find it a bit strange that people can get no mail at all in a four-week period and I’m surprised that this hasn’t cropped up before with you.
If you’re concerned about that then you should really stop allowing such long lets.
Well, she’s not a tenant before her check-in date. So legally, I think a host could mark it “Not at this address” and pop it back in the mail if they were so inclined. I wouldn’t worry about some mail, but things that could be used to establish residency, like if mail from a bank comes for a guest, or from immigration if they were an international guest, might be of some concern.
Well, lots of mail people used to get is now online paperless, i.e. bank and credit card statements, bills, etc., and not many people write actual letters anymore. I have lived in Mexico for almost 20 years, there is no mail delivery service in my area, so I have never gotten any mail here. For the few things that might come in a year, they go to my daughter’s mailing address in Canada, and I either ask her to open it and let me know what it is if it seems like it might be important, or look at it once a year when I am up in Canada, as it’s just junkmail and it gets chucked.
So not getting snail mail these days for a month isn’t that strange.
First, we’re really talking about establishing a “Tenancy”, not “Residency”. For legal purposes, she would be a Tenant because she is paying to live there for a specific period of time, almost always 28-31 days depending on location. A Tenancy is a legal status in which someone is protected under Residential Landlord-Tenant Statutes.
“Residency” is a status dictated by the government that establishes taxes, citizenship, voting, licenses, local benefits, what level of tuition you pay in school, etc. Mail does help establish Residency in a state/city/school district/etc but Residency has absolutely no bearing on the Landlord-Tenant relationship whatsoever. It is irrelevant.
(Of course, being a Tenant will help establish Residency, but that status does not affect the landlord in any manner and I can’t see why anyone would care about anyone else’s Residency status).
So it is only Tenancy that matters here. For reference, in my current state, a person establishes a Tenancy merely by paying for a stay of 30 days or more with no more than an oral agreement to move in. That is all that is required to establish a Tenancy in most states. The only concern regarding mail is that it is illegal to obstruct the mail.
There are mailbox forwarding services that will receive your mail, scan the envelope, email you that scan and ask whether you want that mail opened and scanned, shredded or forwarded.
So people who travel a lot and haven’t otherwise been able to get all their mail electronically might use a service like that.
What I meant when referring to residency is if a guest used the address on some official paperwork to claim they were a local resident, for say, immigration purposes, or with the IRS, listing a place they’d booked for 5 weeks as their permanent official address. That’s a different issue from how local laws may establish tenancy and its attendant rights.
Totally different. I agree. So why worry about it?
I’m assuming first of all that you are in the USA. I have pro landlord experience.
in all the states I have experience owning rental property in, which is 4, she will become a tenant after 30 days by operation of law. Meaning without anything else happening.
The mail does not have any significance except that it might reveal her intentions----it is so easy to get insurance online only, no reason to have it mailed. So why do it that way?
Depending on your state, once a tenant is in there it can take many months to get them out, even if they stop paying rent. In New York City when I was there, a few years back, it took about a year to evict a non paying tenant.
I would immediately write to her and say a lease is required. If she doesn’t write back or balks, I would cancel the reservation. (Yes I do know there are a lot of consequences for doing that. I would do it anyway).
If she agrees to a lease, I would use leaserunner.com to generate the document.
If you let her move in without a lease, well, I wish you good luck.
This lease would be signed before I would give her access to the space.
I think it’s a bit off that the guest didn’t check with you first on getting mail delivered. And they are going to the trouble of changing their address to your Airbnb for about a month, then changing it to the next address? When it’s easy to deal with Geico or other providers online.
The link between establishing residency through a mailing address and squatting would be more relevant to occupying vacant properties than to long term rental tenancy, I would think. It could be your guest is planning to relocate permanently to the area (not to your master BR) and desires to establish residency for that reason.
We don’t have the facility to receive mail addressed to you at the Airbnb and ensure it is delivered to you. Please make other arrangements.”
And absolutely yes on the signed lease agreement.
It is not too late to cancel the stay and take the penalty.
Is that a common practice to have a long term Airbnb guest sign a rental agreement or lease? I naively assumed I was ok since the accommodations were booked through Airbnb. I will definitely research the link you shared, thank you. On a side note I reached out and told her that she would not be able to receive any more mail here. Her response was:
“Good afternoon. I am so sorry I just called Gieco to get rate quote if I changed states and the lady messed up and sent the quote. I have already spoken to them a few days ago and they fixed it. I apologize. You can just throw it away if you don’t mind”
I will definitely not throw it away, will probably do RTS since she is not even staying here yet
Some hosts who do long-term stays on Airbnb do require a signed agreement. However, it has to be in your house rules before the guest books for you to be able to require it. It is too late for you to require this guest to sign an agreement.
And it really is not crucial so I don’t think you should worry about it. Without a lease, she would be considered a tenant-at-will and the state’s laws will apply. It’s not uncommon for monthly rental agreements to not have written contracts. The legalities all apply the same either way. I recommend having a contract so that you can set your rules (make sure not to put any illegal rules in there like “no mail” though) and have records and such but you’ll be fine without one.
A written rental contract does not do all that much to protect you. In places where it is difficult to get rid of a bad tenant (which is only a very few), having a written contract will not help you. And in places where it is not difficult to get rid of a bad tenant, it just won’t matter. The thing that actually protects you with a renter is a security deposit. You can’t collect one at this point and you can’t collect one on Airbnb at all unless you are software-connected (and the lack of a security deposit is why I won’t do monthly stays through Airbnb).
I had been thinking about your situation and before you posted about talking to the guest, I was logging in to say that she may have had to give them her temporary address for insurance purposes. Car insurance needs to know where the car is going to be parked. And if she has renters insurance with a personal property rider she would have better coverage if she updates her location with them. I even considered that she may be coming on a visa and those require giving the address of your accommodations too.
There are many reasons she may have used your address but none of them give her any additional rights than she would have otherwise. It really does not matter and I don’t think you should risk losing the guest/stay over it. We don’t even know where you are or what kind of property you have so the tenancy issue may not even apply. And in most states you are far better protected by state laws than you are by Airbnb. I would choose my state laws over Airbnb policies in every single situation.
The one clear exception is if you’re in CA. I wouldn’t let anyone stay more than 12 days in CA for any reason. If you’re in CA then take @RiverRock’s (who is in CA) advice and cancel the stay.
Thank you so much for your input. It has been truly helpful. The space is a master bedroom suite in the home I live in in NC.
Yes, I haven’t done rentals for over 21 days for many years but received a valuable lesson when tenants stopped paying and we had to take them to court.
It took 6 months to get them out (legally) and during that time it would have been against the law for me to stop providing them with utilities (which was the way it used to be done many years ago - now illegal) so for those six months I was paying all the bills for no return. Plus attorney fees and so on.
So please protect yourself if you can. Find out what the tenancy laws are where you live and abide by them.
Please please please don’t think that Airbnb covers you for anything. It is an advertising company that introduces host to guest - that’s all we should expect from them.
I love using Airbnb, I’ve never had unpleasant dealings with the company and I’m sure that there have been cases where it has looked after and supported hosts with problems but many hosts seem to think that Airbnb will get them out of any scrapes. That simply isn’t the case.
Make sure that you are in full compliance with your locality’s rules and regs, TOT or whatever your local bed tax is, make sure that you are covered by STR insurance and don’t assume that you can rely on Airbnb for anything.
Airbnb is a great company to use but you have to be fully responsible for your own business.
You’re fine then. NC is terribly landlord-friendly and it’s much harder for someone to become a tenant when they’re renting a room in the homeowner’s residence. It is actually possible in NC but having a written agreement wouldn’t change anything, e.g. calling them a guest doesn’t make them a guest per NC law anyway. (Oddly, in CA, this would only be a lodger who can be booted out without even going to court.)
IMO, the issues with a guest potentially becoming a tenant are generally overblown and misguided. It’s not that there are no risks in having a tenant, it’s just that the risk isn’t necessarily greater than having a guest. Once you’re inviting strangers into your property the risks are generally fairly equal. What I like about having tenants is that I am given guaranteed rights and protections by the law as a landlord. Airbnb does not consistently give nor guarantee any rights to me as a host.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it is actually more likely for a short term guest to refuse to leave than a long termer. (And altogether it’s quite rare). I’ve read posts where a guest who booked for a few days or a week refused to leave. After all, if they plan to make you jump through hoops to get them out, you’d think they’d prefer to pay for a 3 day booking than a month-long one.
I use a written contract for the rare 28 day rental of my second home in another city. I have found that a rental contract avoids confusion and provides safeguards that are beyond that of an oral contract.
Includes circumstances under which guests are allowed, lessee agreement that the property and furnishings are in good condition, pets, etc. Say you bring 6 dogs into the property; now it’s your word against mine whether pets were allowed.