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Convincing landlord to rent house and then list it on Airbnb

I was wondering if anyone had any lick renting a house and then convincing the landlord to let you list rooms on Airbnb? I’ve tried renting apartments and keeping it on the down low but I’m always looking over my shoulder wondering if someone is going to find out/complain.

Suggestions?

So far I’ve been turned down by about 10 landlords in the LA area.

I had it written into my lease as most leases state that sub-letting isn’t allowed but I’m in Australia and the rules could be different here.

I think a lot of landlords don’t understand Air BnB or have only heard the very rare horror stories and are fearful of it. The reality is that a lot of rentals have tenants in them that aren’t listed on the lease who come and go and are probably more likely to be a problem than verified Air BnB guests.

I guess it comes down to you finding a way to sell the benefits of Air BnB to potential landlords over traditional house sharing arrangements.

I think it has to do with the fact that you’d be making money off their property, perhaps even more than you pay the landlord for rent. Also if anything gets destroyed it is their property, and not yours. Should (worst case scenario) they put a hole through the wall, break the bathtub or a window, it is the landlord who would have to cough up for it and not you. I think. I’m not familiar with US law but in the UK this would be the case.

Yeah I’ve heard from a lot of hosts locally here and they also have a hard time convincing their landlords. Prehaps you can try to do a revenue split model with them (ie. a base and a % of booking profits)

It presents a host of liabilities to the homeowner and no real benefit. For one thing, their insurance wouldn’t cover anything if their place is being used as an Air rental. We’ve had people tell us on this forum that when they even called to enquire with their insurance about doing an Air, they were immediately canceled!

Also lots of wear and tear. Problems with neighbors who don’t love it. CC&R or zoning violations…more downsides than I can count.

There’s a reason “no subletting” is written into just about every lease. If you did do it on the down low, you could get evicted, so I wouldn’t try that. Air rentals are easy to spot… people coming and going, suitcases rolling in and out… etc.

Is there no consolation in the $1 Million dollar insurance policy that Airbnb provides for each listing? I do understand about the potential complaints from other tenants, but other than that I see no legitimate objection. And frankly, let them whine. People coming and going with suitcases?? How is that really bothering you (by you, I mean tenant, not you personally, Kona).

Granted, there is some unrest in the regulatory climate regarding Airbnb, but it appears that even the most severe legislation will only bring about stricter taxation policies.

Airbnb operations maintain cleaner premises, are physically occupied less than traditional rentals (where section 8s just lounge around all day), and, perhaps most importantly, represent a more surefire income stream, as opposed to standard tenants who are often scraping by paycheck to paycheck (myself included for many years).

Thoughts?

Oh and as far as vetting/verification goes for guests…hotels don’t do any more verification than Airbnb, and they’re doing just fine.

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The insurance airbnb offers is not a sure bet to be relied upon. It is up to their discretion, and certain things aren’t covered.

In regards to your complete disregard for your neighbors or tenants, I say I would hate to be next to you. Of course having a whole lot more traffic causes a lot more inconvenience to them. A quiet elevator building where everyone knew their neighbors could become suddenly full of strangers filling the elevator with bulging suitcases, blocking doorways, and partying till all hours - after all, they don’t have to live next door to these people, so what do they care about making a racket? A neighborhood already struggling with adequate street parking can become more strained with the influx of constant visitors.

I take it either you don’t own a property or haven’t been doing airbnb for long, because if you did, you would have noticed that having guests in and out of your home creates far more traffic than an ordinary home gets, and therefore a lot more wear and tear. Suitcases banging on walls and rolling over floors, people trudging in and out all times of the day (and night!), and people, even when asked don’t like to remove their shoes - even in the middle of a snowy muddy, salty, sandy winter. Ever wonder why hotels have specially made hard wearing carpets? I can assure you that even with just a few extra guests per week, over a couple of years you (or the owner at least)8 will certainly notice accelerated wear and tear.

And by the way, most tenants that are opposed to airbnb aren’t opposed just because of a few suitcases, it is because so many landlords are choosing to rent their flats out short term to airbnb travelers, that people that actually live and work in the city are being forced out into other towns and having to commute. Prices have been raised too high for most people to survive, and neighborhoods that used to exist are becoming tourist wonderlands. For those people trying to work and survive in expensive cities such as NY, it’s more than an annoyance.

The difference between the security in a hotel and your little airbnb in someone else’s home or apartment is that you can’t call the cops to throw out someone that has paid to be in your home no matter how much you dislike what they are doing. They won’t get involved. Airbnb won’t be any help either. Hotels have security, and can call the cops at any point.

The thing that is interesting about your post is that you expect the owner to take on extra risk by allowing you to be bringing in all kinds of paying strangers at your discretion, but you don’t seem to think they are entitled to any share of the profits. I wonder where you got these kinds of ideas about how the world works. The fact that you even call breaking your signed legal agreement to sublet ‘keeping it on the down low’ says a lot. I wonder how you would feel if you let someone borrow your car for a week and found out afterwards they were leasing it out to all their buddies. Not cool is it?

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Sandy I hope you are here to stay because in my next post I will address all your concerns.
I look forward to your input.

A hotel is set up to take guests, and takes a credit card on deposit from guests toward damages.

The Air damage policy only covers damages (but there is an extended process you have to go through and Air doesn’t always side with you.)

I appreciate everyone’s input thus far. For the most part, it’s nothing I am not already aware of or hadn’t considered, but I will continue in the hopes that someone reaches out with a solution. I have also found 2 homeowners in the last week that were wiling to work with me, so the task is not impossible, just rife with rejections. Finding something in the right price range, where the economics of the undertaking are actually sensible, is also demanding.

Sandy

Do me the courtesy of reading this as I actually took the time to read that tome of a response you left for me. I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

Wow, are you a proponent of the sharing economy or one for those committed to it’s collapse? Who said they aren’t entitled to some of the profits? You said that, not me.

I would very much appreciate it if you could explain to me the agony one has to endure regarding the 2 minutes it takes guests to carry their luggage to the apartment upon arrival and departure. I’m sorry but I cannot see any harm there, only a nagging person, who might also complain to a manager about the clack-clack noise a woman’s high heels makes as she heads out the door to work. “Yes, if you could ask her to use different shoes…it wakes me in the morning. It’s very distracting.” Grow up.

I think we all know that the overwhelming majority of Airbnb guests are not intent on ‘partying at all hours of the night’. At any rate, I inform managers that I do not allow parties or loud noise or additional guests.

Sandy your logic is flawed. Comparing the act of letting someone borrow my car (for which they are not being charged) and the fact that I want to rent out my apt (for which I pay $1000/mo) is nothing short of preposterous. If someone let me ‘borrow’ an apt, then yes, I can see how renting it out to short term rentals wouldn’t exactly be courteous. The fact of the matter is that I am paying $1000/month for the space in which I live, the very same amount, mind you, that the landlord would receive from any other tenant. Why then, is it a problem for me to do with the space what I please? The landlord is turning a profit all the same. Now, if I leased my car to someone, and they devised a plan to somehow leverage that lease to make a living for themselves? Good for them. Everyone’s making money and the economy thrives.

Sandy, do you have any original complaints are you just regurgitating what you read on the Internet? While many presume that short term rentals are shrinking the availability of long term units, the truth is that I could find another apartment to live in today if I had to. There are thousands of ads on Craigslist and pad mapper and other sites. The argument that rentals are disappearing in cities with short term rental operations is extremely exaggerated.

Your comment, ‘bringing in all kinds of paying strangers’,… I don’t know what to make of it. You’re implying that the concept is a…dangerous one? Keep in mind that most Airbnb guests are verified by some form of identification, as well as a credit card. And again, since you must not have read my original post, hotels have been doing this for years. Decades. Centuries. Because it’s not a problem. It’s a numbers game, and as numbers go, you’re much, much more likely to have quiet, peaceful, pleasant guests than you are violent, destructive, sociopaths.

As an American citizen, you’re entitled to nothing. Sure, it would be nice to ‘work and live in expensive cities like NY’, but you don’t have ‘the right’ to that expensive apartment, that’s a privilege you have to earn. You might think you do, but that apartment is for people who can afford it. And if the American free markets demand an increase in short term rentals, and the cost of long term rentals increases as a result of that demand, so be it. You suggest that the hospitality industry should consult with individual renters before expanding into bustling markets, but such is the nature of free enterprise. The notion that the living preferences of those with insufficient income is somehow more important than the demands of a free market is neither logical not just. Markets evolve and people adapt.

As far as wear and tear in regards to increased traffic from guests, I suggest you go with hardwood flooring. Much more resilient and much easier to clean.

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Dear Airhost,
I almost choked at your last remark on the hardwood flooring (if I wasn’t already getting there beforehand). We do have hardwood floors. Beautiful, very sturdy hardwood that only used to grow over a hundred years ago and doesn’t exist anymore. And if you had any idea of the cost of refinishing those lovely hardwood floors that are worn and scratched and beaten up much more quickly with just a few years worth of airbnb guests, you might think again when making the suggestion in such a droll manner. But you don’t think of those phenomenal costs, because you are not a homeowner. Guests will trump into the home wearing boots filled with sand and gravel, not wipe them properly on the mats provided, because a. It’s not their home to worry about, and b. They might not even be used to beautiful hardwood floors that can get scratched up and damaged (they might live in a house with vinyl flooring or carpet). You don’t think about the incredible wear that takes place in a home, because I believe you’ve never had to foot a bill for such things. But they run into the thousands and tens of thousands depending on the size. Our floors just recently refinished are showing lots of scratches, gouges, and the beginnings of wear. Guests do all kinds of things home owners would never do. Flushing things down toilets that home owners wouldn’t, knowing it is asking for a very expensive call to the plumber.

I’ll start from the top of your ‘tome’ now (haha, that was one of my short posts).

You ask who said they aren’t entitled to the profits and claim I said that, not you. Actually, in your opening post you claim you have rented apartments and tried keeping it the down low. Now, unless I am sorely mistaken, the only person you are trying to keep it on the ‘down low’ from is the owner of said apartments you were renting from and as you did not tell the owners you were subletting their rooms via airbnb, and were ‘always looking over your shoulder’, it seems pretty clear you weren’t sharing the profits, and further were very aware that they would very likely not be so thrilled with your subletting. So it is from yourself that I got the very clear message that sharing the profits was not something you had done, and if you intend to now, you certainly did not say so.

It seems you are unable to grasp the many differences that would effect people living in a building suddenly filled with a rotating roster of tourists with baggage in tow. Unless the host is there on site, guests can and will party all night, and neighbors are forced to call the cops, and it will happen, repeatedly. What do you think many young people hire apartments for anyway? To see the scenery? Of course they plan to party! And party they will. Work nights, it doesn’t matter. They’re on holiday! The host won’t know unless it gets really bad and the cops are called, but they can play it down. This can happen over and over. Damage can occur. More guests can stay than were booked, strangers bought back… All sorts. Read some accounts of what happens. The only time we rented out our entire home (aside from movie shoots), the people that seemed super straight and respectable partied insanely - even while we were still upstairs the first night. They even broke our beautiful dining room table - a huge round antique table with brass lion paw feet. They claimed when we found it in two pieces that they had just been having a quiet game of cards, even though we were up ALL NIGHT because of the yahoo’ing and screaming and whatever the hell they were doing. They didn’t want to contribute to getting it fixed. People, will, party. Especially if you book the whole apartment out.

As for your remarks about people that wear heels that click clack over the tops of people’s heads in apartments? That absolutely can drive a person to distraction. I remember my husband telling me about the apartment he used to have in NYC. It was a beautiful space. Only problem? Every morning, the woman above him would get up early, put on her high heels, and click clack click clack all over the apartment for an hour. He could hear her every movement even with earplugs in. Oh, now she’s getting her coffee, now she’s in the bathroom doing makeup. He had to move out. It really was a case of either get some new shoes, or how about wait until you are about to leave before you put those suckers on. Some people are completely unaware of the noise they make and how it affects other people. We often have those kinds of guests - my least favorite humans. Self absorbed, inconsiderate, unable to see how what they do can make others lives so unpleasant. I have a feeling you don’t recognize how some things can really just make people’s lives hell - and having your quiet neighborhood turned into a tourist trap could easily do this, depending on how, who, where.

It seems as if you believe so long as you’re a winner, it doesn’t matter what you do to win. So what if you lease your friends car, then lease it out to a bunch of strangers he never gave permission to drive it. You’re making a profit! You’re a winner! It’s the capitalists dream. Unfortunately, you’re not really a winner, you’re a jerk, and your friend is going to be very upset when he finds out. You see, you’re friend gave YOU permission to drive the car because he knows you, and he even gave you a good deal because he trusts that you’ll take good care of it, being his long time friend and all. He did not however expect you to go and let a bunch of other people that he doesn’t know from adam drive it. If he wanted to turn his vehicle into a herz for hire, he’d have done it himself and taken the money. Obviously, he only approved you. The same with those people that rented their apartments to you, that you

See where this is going? It’s the same with your apartment lease. They can check up on your background, and decide whether you are good for it, but you nor they get barely anything on an airbnb guest before they book. You don’t even find out a name most of the time, unless you ask specifically. Problems happen all the time. We had a guest try to mess around with our old fashioned water heaters, which resulted in a slow leak into the ceiling and an inevitable collapse - of beautiful old plaster and lathe work. Curved ceilings, not just straight lines. Not an easy fix, and an enormous mess. That’s just one stupid thing a guest did.

In regards to the safety, an airbnb is not the same as a hotel. Hotels typically have security that will remove any unruly guests from the premises. Good luck with getting the police to remove any paying guests from your (actually someone else’s) property. When you have accepted money from guests for them to be on a property, they can do what they like on that property and the police won’t intervene unless you can prove a crime. Unruly behavior, partying (unless other neighbors complain after a certain hour) will result in nothing but a visit to say keep it down. There really are safety issues. A lot of them. It sounds like you are incredibly naive, to think that most guests are ‘quiet, peaceful and pleasant’. Haven’t you spent any time reading around on this forum for a while?

Now to answer your question whether I am a ‘proponent of the sharing economy or committed to its collapse’ (as if I could have any impact on either outcome), for starters, it is not anything to do with a ‘sharing’ economy and everything to do with a ‘making money from personal investments’ economy. No one shares anything, so it’s a silly name. As far as whether I am a proponent, obviously I must be in some ways, because I am presently doing it and making nice side income from it. But unfortunately the big problem with these things and the reason that hotels (that used to be just like airbnb’s today - people would pull into a town, and would find out who lets rooms) came to be, is that without all the regulation, you have all kinds of monkeys trying to get in on the action and doing all tryoes of stupid things to make some extra coin. That is how the hotel industry became regulated you know - so many food poisonings occurring eventually led to kitchen inspections and standards for kitchens that cooked for paying guests, so many stinking bed bug attacks led to clean hotel brands that people could trust, and on and on. In some ways, it’s funny we have gone back to where we started. It has its charms for sure, but there’s always people that will be dishonest. I have a feeling that a host that has already tried to host out of someone else’s apartment and broken the lease agreement, and that seems to think that anyone leasing a car from someone should be able to make a little business leasing that car out to whomever they like without approval from the owner is likely to have an under developed sense of what’s right, and tends to focus more on what suits them. In the world of hosting, trust is integral, and a host that is so focused on themselves at the expense of being unable to see how it impacts others would not make the best host to begin with - all my opinion of course, but since I am an experienced host, having hosted worldwide guests in our home for ten years and a super host on airbnb for 3+.

Perhaps you could save up for your own dream home to host guests in your own airbnb, if that is what you long to do? That way, the risk will be all yours, and I suspect a different attitude will develop.

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I agree with Sandy.

The irony of your argument is that you are a renter who is subjected to the negative impact of AirBNB. You are facing higher rents and reduced housing stock in a range of popular neighborhoods (Santa Monica, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Venice) where an increasing number of landlords and leasing companies are not renting to people like you – residents who need long-term leases – but are instead turning straight to AirBNB where they can make much more by charging tourists a nightly rate. Reduced housing stock also means higher rent – which means you may indeed have to illegally sublet on AirBNB in order to subsidize your cost of renting in these areas.

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And in response to your fixation on markets, there are also really American concepts like zoning, taxation, and urban planning that mediate the market so that public and private space and infrastructure are effectively working to facilitate the functions/operations of a city or town. AirBNB pretty much subverts all of these things (with the exception of a handful of cities where they collect occupancy taxes).

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Sandy! I’m so disappointed! Here I was expecting another round of solid back-and-forth but you’re giving me nothing! At any rate, I think I’ve made my point.
Chicago, I appreciate the time you put into your responses. And yes, I will be subject to increasing rents, such is the way of life I suppose. Woe to me to live in the boundless expanse of opportunities that is the 21st century.

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Still, I think, if anything, my idea of ‘what is right’ is as legitimate as your own, or as any others for that matter. What is right? It is, after all, a subjective discussion I think.
I doubt either of us has the time or intellectual capacity to discuss the tenets of right and wrong. Perhaps another time.

I fear we are getting nowhere on this front.

Perhaps let us go another direction.
Under what circumstances would you, as an owner, permit such activity from a renting tenant? What laws would you require in place? Regulations? Taxation? Law enforcement? I am genuinely interested in learning what it would take to being such leeway.

Think to yourself, "Hmmmpphh! The only way I would ever let a renter run an Airbnb operation out of one of my units was if…"
Let your imagination run wild.

Oh billy billy billy, you know you’re getting somewhere when the discourse shifts to insults and personal attacks.

But thank you sir it appears I have, indeed, solidified my argument.

HEAR HEAR! Sandy is right. I am surprised she even responded to AirHost1 at all, as this unsophisticated person doesn’t get it. If you were my tenant AitHost, and I caught you subletting, you’d get my 30-day notice to vacate and yeah, good luck with all those Craigslist ads, half of which are scams. You are SO WRONG… Air DOES affect the housing market, and number of available units. Why would I rent my place for $10,000 a year when I can make $20,000 on Air? I’m doing it, and so are thousands of other people in my area, especially those of us by the beach.

As for suitcases and people rolling in and out, it IS obnoxious. I’m annoyed by my OWN guests! I am here to make sure they don’t party but I have had them party and invite strangers anyway. Once that door is closed, you have no control over what your guests do.

Can you please go buy your own home, rent it on Air and then report back to us how it goes? Or buy a home, then rent it to a tenant who sublets on Air and let us know how it goes.

AirHost …In no scenario ever.

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