If you own your own property, it can be very tempting to rent out your home to vacationers. Short term leasing of real estate is very popular these days. Many people find that they can make a lot of extra money when they open up their home to people who want accommodations for the short term but would prefer to not stay at a hotel. There are some things would be rentals need to do to be safe and not break the law.
- You need to know the law. Not every locality allows people to rent out their home this way. If you rent out all or even part of your home, you may be running what your local authorities consider to be an illegal hotel. Short term leasing is illegal in a number of cities. The reason the authorities care so much is that the city or state wants to get the taxes you would be paying if you were running an actual hotel or bed and breakfast. If you are renting your space, you may be inviting other problems. Renting out a room in your apartment may be caused for your landlord to evict you. A part of the issue is that you were vetted to rent your space but the people you may be renting to were not. You need to check your lease to see if you can do this before you go ahead and list your place. It is important to remember that any money you earn this way is considered to be income and is taxable.
- Be very careful about the people you rent to. Make sure you check out the would be renters before you sign any short term leasing agreements or accept any money. There are some services for house sharing that can at least partially vet the people who would rent your place but you should do your due diligence as well. Try to connect with the would be renters before they come into your home. Check out their social media profiles and see if there are any reviews about how they behaved as guests in other people’s homes. Talking to them can also give you a chance to answer any questions they may have about the property but also about the neighborhood and even city. If you are using a service, you may find that some people are interested in just communicating with you offline and not through the methods the site may offer. Do not give into this. You will have more protection if you use the communication means that are offered by the service.
- Develop your own house rules. No matter what kind of short term leasing options you have available, you want to protect your property. One way to do this is to devise a set of house rules that your renters will need to follow. Some examples include not allowing renters or their guests to smoke in the house or apartment. Like hotels, you may have set “check in” and “check out” times. If you are clear and up front with these rules, the people who want to rent from you will not be upset when they have to follow them. If you surprise them when they arrive, you may have an issue.
- Price your property properly. Most services allow homeowners to decide what the price will be to rent the room or the home. You may want to offer more rental amenities if you are going to rent for higher price. You do need to be careful. What you might want to do is look and see what other short term leasing options in your area are going for. You do not want the price that you set to be either too high or too low. Like Goldilocks, you want your price to be “just right.”
- Spread the word. Once you have set your rules, checked the law and determined your price, let the world know that your house is the place to rent in your area.
When you offer up your home, or part of your home, to short term renters, there are going to be risks and rewards. Just be very careful.