Nowadays, it’s rare to find a person who hasn’t heard of Airbnb. It can be tempting, if you have an extra room in your house or you split your residency between two different locations, to think hosting is a great option for you. After all, you are essentially getting paid rent for unused parts of your house! How great is that? But slow down, grasshopper. There’s a lot more that goes into a successful hosting experience than throwing up some pictures and setting back to count your cash as the greenbacks roll in. Renting out even part of your home is fraught with hurdles you must clear. The following may not even be a comprehensive list. It’s important to check with your state and local government regarding short-term rentals.
1. Know (and Follow) the Site’s Hosting Etiquette
Airbnb has a lengthy, exhaustive hosting etiquette that is aimed at keeping tenants happy and homeowners from getting bad reviews. You’ll need to provide the basic essentials for your guest, such as toilet tissue, soap, and clean towels. You also need to treat a booking like a serious commitment. Canceling on your tenants - especially at the last minute - is about one of the worst things you can do as a host.
2. Think Safety
It’s your job to make sure that your guests will be safe throughout their stay. This means making sure that there are no household hazards, but it also means stocking the bathroom with a full first-aid kit, making sure that your fire and carbon monoxide alarms are working, and having a handy list visible that shows the address and phone number of the nearest hospital.
3. Do You Need Permits?
In almost every municipality, you will require permits for short-term renters, even if they are only staying a couple of days and you don’t plan on renting often. It would be a bad idea to try and skirt this responsibility.
“Ensure you look up any permitting, zoning, safety, and health regulations that may apply,” the service's site notes, directing users to explore the specific government agencies that regulate the use of property in their particular town or city.
4. Hosting Limits - How Long?
Every city is different, but the place where you live will almost certainly have limits on not only how many consecutive days a short-term renter may stay, but also on how many days out of the year that you are allowed to rent out your place. It’s not a free-for-all. One of the reasons that this matters is that, in certain places, if a short-term renter stays with you long enough, s/he can be considered a tenant. This introduces a whole can of worms if you need or want to kick them out, and you could find yourself with a squatter situation on your hands.