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Fancy a few months abroad without having to say goodbye to your much-loved rental property? How can you keep your place and avoid paying rent while you travel?

As a tenant, putting your apartment on Airbnb could be the ideal solution – allowing you the financial freedom to be away for extended periods of time and the comfort of being able to come ‘home’ after your travels – but you need to be aware of the risks of doing this without getting permission from your landlord.

Know the deal

Most rental agreements in countries like the United Kingdom have clauses like this:

“The tenant shall not sublet all or any part of the premises without the Landlord’s prior written consent.”

What does that mean? Technically, you are not allowed to rent out all or part of your apartment, whether it’s for a few days or longer. If this type of clause is in your rental agreement, your landlord can legally evict you if you break the clause.

Honesty is the best policy

Yes, there’s a good chance that you could get away with subletting your apartment while you go away or renting your spare room on Airbnb – and you might be able to keep it a secret from your landlord for a period of time but inevitably it will cause you more hassle than it’s worth if you get caught. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. Earning cash on Airbnb is wonderful but if it means you lose your beloved rental and have to start looking for a new home (and possibly suffer from bad references) then is it really worth it? There’s also the possibility that, with careful negotiation, your landlord might agree to the arrangement and you could create a scenario where everybody wins. So it’s best to talk to your landlord before you make any moves.

The risks to your landlord

Before you raise the idea with your landlord, you need to try and put yourself in their shoes. Here are some of the factors that play heavily in the decision for a landlord to allow a tenant to sublet their place on Airbnb:

  • Even though Airbnb is a system that is reasonably secure when it comes to verifying guests and ensuring you can pick appropriate travellers to stay in your place, there’s always the chance that you’ll get a bad guest who causes damage to your property, is too loud, has a bad interaction with a neighbour or steals something.
  • There are cities with strict laws regarding short-term rentals which mean that property owners can face large fines if they are caught subletting their place to travellers.
  • In many countries, landlords are legally required to have homeowners insurance for their building. This insurance covers the property according to the rental agreement – not as an Airbnb business. This means that if you sublet your place and something goes wrong, the insurance company will deny any claims for compensation made by your landlord.

What does this mean in general? Airbnb poses a big risk for a property owner and they will, most of the time, be reluctant to agree to an arrangement in which a tenant sublets their apartment.

What you can do to sweeten the deal

Obviously if you live in an area like London, with strict short-term rental laws, it’s going to be very difficult to convince your landlord to go with Airbnb as an option but if you live in areas that are more relaxed with rental laws, here are some things you can do to negotiate with your landlord:

  • Offer to pay more for your rental or to give the landlord a percentage of the Airbnb earnings
  • Commit to a longer lease
  • Offer to pre-pay your rent as a lump sum or to pay an entire year’s rent in advance
  • Explain how Airbnb is a community built on trust, with safety resources like the $1,000,000 Host Guarantee and $1,000,000 Host Protection Policy
  • Consider purchasing your own vacation rental insurance to cover any potential damage to property
  • Increase the amount of security deposit that you put down for the apartment
  • Suggest setting up the landlord as a shared host so they have access to information about bookings and can vet potential guests.

What if the landlord says no?

If your landlord has never used Airbnb before, it is natural for them to be sceptical at first about the idea of strangers staying in their apartment so don’t be put off if their initial reaction is ‘no’. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your Airbnb dreams are over. We recommend you having an open conversation with the landlord, asking what their main concerns are and then suggesting ways which you can address those concerns. You might also want to encourage them to partner with you through the Friendly Buildings Program

GuestReady can help

The GuestReady team is experienced when it comes to helping tenants and landlords work together to negotiate an Airbnb arrangement that pleases all parties. We help tenants secure a written statement from their landlord that certifies that he/she agrees to the tenant subletting the apartment for short stays. Let us help you by contacting a member of our team today.

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