Signing a one year lease in order to lease on Airbnb. Possible?

So I want to eventually own my own house to be able to either flip or short term lease it. I have some saving to do and figured what better way to do it than getting started with short term leasing a place that I’m paying rent towards. Ideally I would rent a 1-2 bedroom studio and airbnb it while having my own place with friends not far away (in order to manage). Has anyone heard of this working or do you think it would? I’m based in South Lake Tahoe so there’s a good amount of tourism here in summer and winter. I’m aware that I may have to make upgrades to a place I don’t even own, that’s no biggie.

Thank you!

I would be very, very careful that you would not be contravening the terms of your lease agreement by doing so. There have been cases recently where landlords have prevented tenants from subletting their unit on AirBnB. Here is one example:

I think it really depends on your jurisdiction and its laws, so make sure you do your research.


Have you done your research and have you done your maths? How much would you be paying for the place? How much would you be likely to make? And once you sign the lease, you need to pay the rent regardless of whether you have any bookings or not.

@Geddy3 @ @daniellealberta have got you started with some good advice. This is a business and you shouldn’t go into it without research. Many areas are being flooded with airbnb listings making competition difficult. Also, yes, the upgrades -they often are more than you would expect. Be sure to have plenty of sheets, blankets, towels, and pillows, so that if a guest ruins a bunch at once you won’t skip a beat.

Are you going to clean it yourself? Do you have a flexible schedule so you can handle emergencies, should they arise? If you do plan to clean it yourself, will you have a back-up plan in place so that if you are ill, or need to be out of town, you have someone to cover it for you?

What income tax will you be paying? What about sales & occupancy taxes? Does airbnb collect them in your area, or will you have to do so? What will your insurance rates be?

Do you have savings to cover the rent during the off season, or when you don’t get bookings? Do you have funds set aside so that, if they should trash your place, you can get it cleaned and ready or the next booking, replacing broken glasses, etc., so you can present a perfectly clean place to the next guest, as if nothing happened?

Do you know other hosts in your area? You can shop the listings. Do a search without dates, and see what places, that are similar to yours, are they booked, or not? What are they getting per night?

Read all the old posts on this forum; they will give you an idea of what to expect.

Good luck! I wish I had the nerve to invest in another property!

You can not do this unless it is expressly allowed or not forbidden in your lease. You could be subject to financial exposure, being sued, fined. Do you know if it is legal as you are not the property owner?

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You also need special insurance for liability, that can get really expensive.

I would never, ever, EVER counsel someone to lease a space thinking they can Airbnb it. Or even to purchase a condo to do it. It’s bound to be filled with heartache.

Sorry. No.

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I have never seen a lease anywhere that didn’t expressly forbid this. And I’m pretty up on landlord law.

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I’m not understanding your query. Are you asking us if you should rent an apartment, sign a lease (without exception these prohibit subletting, which is what you are proposing to do) make upgrades on a place that is not yours ? then rent it out on Airbnb? All without e permission of the owner, or on the down low? If you are asking that, the answer is no, you shouldn’t do it. Airbnb is strictly for property owners. If you lease or rent, you have no business doing Airbnb. You’re putting the property owner at great risk and liability, not to mention wear and tear on his or her place.


With all due respect to the others on this thread, I can assure you that leases that allow subletting DO exist, although they are rare on the ground. In many cases it is a trade-off for higher-than-market rents, curtailed tenancy rights, etc. Offers may be easier to find for less popular locations or less marketable properties.
If you can’t find one, you can negotiate one.
Airbnb is not just for owners.

I dont think your landlord will be happy to find out that you are making money on his property. Find out that first. He will find out, because neighbors are not going very happy about it and someone will report you.

Really?, i thought it was just for owners. I signed a bunch of leases in my life and i remember each lease said something about not being able to rent this appartment to anyone, and if i want to sublet it, it needs to go through landlord approval, and no visitor for more than 3 days, something like that.

I know that in Japan there are many companies now that specialize in brokering sublettable leased apartments, for Airbnb operators.
On a legal basis, I might add - the leases would allow it.

The subject of subletting gets my hackles up. In addition to doing Air I’m also a landlord for a long-term tenant at another property. I do periodic checks on short term rental websites and Kijiji to make sure that address hasn’t been listed. If I caught my tenant subletting, he would be evicted faster than you can say homeless.


Thank you for your response, it has been very helpful. I obviously have a good amount of research to do before I dive into this any further, if I end up going through with it. Cheers

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Thanks for your response @Natalie. I’ll have to do more research. I’m now juggling with the idea of just getting a 2 bedroom and leasing one of the rooms out while I occupy the other. Does Airbnb require a host to prove property insurance? thanks again!

I was thinking about you this morning, @fholl29 - I was thinking about how exciting it is when a booking inquiry comes in - it can be a bit additcting! My husband gets a text, and I get an email - so if we are both home and his phone chimes for a text, we hold our breath, and if my phone then chimes for an email we get excited and eagerly grab my phone.

Then, when the inquiries DON’T come in, it can be so discouraging, and even stressful. (Over time I’m sure it will even out). But I was thinking 'What if I had a rent payment coming up, and a payment for all the stuff I put into the apartment, and didn’t have any inquiries coming in?" That would be SO STRESSFUL. It’s hard enough for us, and this income is, more or less, ‘extra’ for our family. If we never had another booking we could still pay all our bills.

Just a thought.

We have leases that allow subletting in SF as well. It is 100% up to the property owner if they want to allow subletting, and not a general blanket statement. Although we do have some trickier rental rules in SF then other parts of the country, for example if you are in a roommate situation and one roommate moves out the landlord must allow that room to be sublet to another roommate that fits the same criteria. I know this is WAY different than doing ABB in a rental. However, we know a few people in SF who’s landlords are completely fine with them ABB as long as the share X percentage of the profits. It goes back to the famous saying here “Your House, Your Rules”

FTR I would fall into the category that if a tenant wanting to LT rent our condo AND ABB giving me a percentage kick back, I am ALL IN.

You say you would be looking to rent in South Lake Tahoe, correct?

If so, there is plenty of information on that specific community here:

Of course, none of this still addresses the legality of it from a landlord’s perspective, but it does outline the specific actions you would need to take to be in compliance, as well as the permits and fees involved…

Bottom line… if he is going to sublet, (or rent on Air), he MUST obtain-- in writing-- the permission of the homeowner. To do otherwise, such as sneaking Air guests, could get him evicted. I’m speaking for the US, and I am sure that Japan and other countries have different situations.

I’m with Yana. Before I owned a home and was a renter every single rental lease I signed disallowed subletting.


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