Would you rat out a renter?

While checking out my local competition, I noticed a new listing. I know this listing is in a condo and I know the host is renting.

On the one side, some members of this forum have made an impression on me regarding the risk that renters are passing on to their unknowing landlords, and I certainly think that is wrong. Practices like this are also one of the many things giving Airbnb a bad name, which is bad for all hosts who follow the rules. On the other side, it’s none of my business, perhaps this host really needs the money, and by ratting her out I help myself by eliminating competition, which is pretty self serving.

My thought is to just stay out of it, but I’m wondering what other hosts would do?

I’d stay out of it.

First, it is none of your business.

Second, the renter may have the permission of their landlord. If they do or if the landlord doesn’t care then you’re going to look very silly, and you won’t be building good neighbourly relations.

Third, this practice is not giving AirBNB a bad name. Let’s not forget, this practice is what started AirBNB.


I am assuming you mean rat out the renter to the landlord? Or do you mean the municipality? In NYC I would not hesitate to alert the city to an illegal rental in my building. Less so other buildings, but not out of the question. Just a condo in another building with no over arching laws making it illegal? I would not. It is up to the residents in that building to complain.

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I have to commend you for coming to the forum for input rather than simply acting. I’m one of the unpopular people here as I’m a renter of some of my listings. I also own some of my listings. I’d be mortified if someone ratted me out (not to my landlords, I have their approval), but it is the risk I knowingly take.

I too struggle with the temptation when I see a host doing something that I consider wrong but I take solace in the fact that bad reviews will sort things out, or that the situation will self-correct somehow.

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Certainly understand the temptation but I wouldn’t say anything unless you know the landlord personally. However…hmmmmm. You could do it anonymously. You could look up the owner of the house in public property records and send a note. If it were me, it would personally appreciate the heads up about what my tenant was doing.

Super, you are not disliked here! :smiley: You say you have the permission of your landlord and as long as you are not breaking laws in your area you are good.


You don’t know whether or not this renter has an agreement with the landlord. I know someone who rents and is doing Airbnb above-board and with the blessing of his landlord. In exchange, he does all of the maintenance in his place and takes great care of it.

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Stay out of it!! Don’t be that busybody neighbour. That’s my opinion


You would really need to know that this host has no permission from the landlord, and that the landlord would not approve.

Any idea if the host is collecting and remitting any lodging tax required? Or if Air collects in your area?

Now that my city is regulated and requires a license, I don’t worry about the “illegals”. I checked with the city to find out if I was the only one in compliance (which I did IMMEDIATELY once the law went into effect) and found out that they now have a full time STR ninja, who scours the different web sites. This city employee is, apparently, brilliant in finding out who is not in compliance and then either makes them apply for a license (if they fit the strict criteria), or shuts them down. I even saw a “cease and desist” notice in of my friend’s loft building. Yes, I would stay out of it and leave it up to the city.

Two years ago, a woman in a particular neighborhood (prior to the new law) turned in dozens of her neighbors for alleged STRs. All of these people got cease and desist orders, which were quickly retracted as there was not yet a law, and many of them were not even STRs – just neighbors who had out of town guests bringing in luggage. It made the news.

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I would want to rat them out for the same self-serving reasons you mentioned. But I wouldn’t do it. None of my business in the end. Plus I think people should be free to do what they want with their homes that they’re paying darn good money for.

Sandy, I’m just curious what city that is? Do you mind saying?

Nope – I don’t mind. I’m in Boulder, Colorado. I’ll send you privately a link to my place.

Well that is the point, the Op was talking about a renter. So if I owned it, and was a landlord, and someone gave me the heads up my tenant was doing Air in violation of their lease, I must admit I would be appreciative.


I would tell a landlord if I knew for an absolute fact that the tenant was renting via Airbnb without the landlord’s knowledge and/or consent.

I would never tell a government body. My husband’s aunt grew up in Nazi Germany. She pointed out to us that one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian government is encouraging or forcing citizens to tattle on each other. I realized that she was correct: Nazi Germany, The Cultural Revolution in China, The Stasi in East Germany, so I decided that the only thing I would tell law enforcement on my neighbors about is violent crime. I suspect that this will be one of few times @Mearns and I are on the same page.


Yes, I agree with you on that Kona… as a landlord, I’d want to know too. But if my tenants weren’t causing any trouble with it I wouldn’t care.

I do though feel like renters should be able to do what they want, within reason, because whether they’re owners or not, they’re still paying good money for the place. And as long as their guests are using the place for the same reasons a renter would, i.e. sleeping, eating, bathing, it shouldn’t matter much to the landlord.

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[quote=“JonYork, post:15, topic:10542, full:true”]

I’m a landlord too, and it does matter to me. There’s a reason we have a ‘no subletting’ clause in our contract. We choose our tenants carefully, check references, take a large security deposit etc. if our tenant is subletting through Airbnb, or any other way, we can’t take these precautions and our property is at risk. Not to mention the insurance issues


That said, I still wouldn’t rat out. Not my place to get involved.

Oh my. I find this viewpoint very very naive. First of all subletting is strictly prohibited in nearly ALL leases. In the case of Air, your renter is doing subletting AND a commercial activity on your property, putting you at profound risk. You are not protected in the case of injury, damage, lawsuits etc, unless you have specific insurance to cover this. If you called your Allstate and told them your renter was doing Air they would cancel you before the phone was hung up.

Further, allowing tenants to do Air causes extreme wear and tear on your property, increased utilities, increased need of maintenance and perhaps ill will with your neighbors. All of which does not benefit YOU, the owner of your property.


Garden host, I totally understand about subletting. But what about if the tenant lives in the apartment and instead of renting out an extra bedroom to a roommate they rent it out to Airbnb guests instead? Would that really be that big a deal?

Roommates are not paying guests. Roommates are roommates.
Roommates are not forbidden by subletting clauses.

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