Becoming an Airbnb host is simple to do, but before you jump in, it really pays to do your homework so that you minimise the likelihood of running into problems down the track.
In Australia, the matters around offering your home for rent on Airbnb can be complex, as there is currently no uniform national legislation around it as the government and councils try to keep up with the new sharing economy.
Basically, the law treats Airbnb differently depending on where you live, but it’s not clearly defined according to which state you live in – the laws actually differ between individual local councils within the same town, city or region. It is advisable to check with your local council to find out what legislation (if any) they have on short term rental arrangements, such as those typically offered on Airbnb.
Here are four tips to prepare yourself for becoming an Airbnb host.
Know your financial obligations
Depending upon how much you’re earning from Airbnb, you may be liable to pay GST and you will also be expected to pay income tax.
The Australian Taxation Office recently announced that it will be closely monitoring properties that are listed on Airbnb and checking whether owners are meeting their income tax obligations on those properties when they do their annual tax returns, so you’ve been warned!
Check your local council regulations
Your local authority should have all the information you need on zoning regulations. You need to know about these and abide by them or you could face court proceedings and potentially a heavy fine.
Understand your building rules
Owners and residents within strata titled buildings are not always in favour of properties within the building being used for short-term rentals such as Airbnb.
The reasons for this are numerous and include the increased likelihood of excessive noise coming from rental properties with parties, etc.; overuse of facilities in common areas such as the pool or gymnasium and the additional wear and tear that ensues; temporary guests using tenant parking spaces; generally treating common areas with less respect than they would if they were permanent residents, and so on.
If you’re renting your home, there will most be likely rules in place about subletting the property, so if you do so and are caught, your landlord may evict you. Ensure you read your lease agreement and check with your landlord first.
Are you still covered?
Review your home insurance policy with your insurance provider to make sure you have adequate coverage, and most importantly that you’re still covered while renting out your home.
Also, check that you have liability coverage so that if any of your guests damage a common area within your building, or if any of them sustain an injury whilst staying at your home, your insurance will cover this and you’ll not have to meet the costs out of your own pocket.
Typically, landlord insurance only covers stays of 90 days or more, so do make a point of checking with your insurance provider to make sure your policy covers shorter term rentals.
Some insurers are now offering home and contents cover specifically for the short-term rental market, so if you are using your property solely for renting it out on Airbnb, this could be your best option.
For more advice on living in an apartment take a read of rules of apartment living and the common challenges and solutions of studio apartment living.