You Could Get the Boot for Renting Out Your Space on Airbnb

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Airbnb encourages hosts to read up on local laws and their lease agreement before renting out their place, or be prepared to face the consequences.

Renting out your apartment on Airbnb could land you in the doghouse with your landlord, or worse – evicted, and looking for a new place to live.

According to SFGate, a number of Airbnb hosts have received violation notices from their respective local planning departments and eviction notices from landlords. Airbnb is a popular accommodations online marketplace where people can rent out their homes or a spare bedroom, just like a hotel.

Unfortunately, some renters have found out the hard way that their lease agreement or municipal laws prohibit the practice.

“When tenants do Airbnb and we catch them, we serve them with eviction notices for violating their lease agreements,” said Dave Wasserman, a San Francisco attorney who represents landlords. “Most rental agreements have outright prohibitions or restrictions on subletting.”

Wasserman said he has filed 10 to 15 such notices for Airbnb use in the past six months. “It’s growing — no question about it,” he said.

Tenants are usually given three days to either fix the problem or move out. If a tenant doesn’t remedy the situation in that time frame, the eviction process moves forward.

In San Francisco, thousands of people are renting out their homes or apartments to make some extra cash. And that doesn’t go over well with landlords, SFGate said.

“Landlords are [ticked] off that tenants are profiting off their properties,” said Delene Wolf, executive director of the San Francisco Rent Board. “It makes them crazy: They’re rent-controlled, and the tenant is making more off their property than they can make.”

Airbnb recently issued a revised terms of service. All hosts must agree to the new terms by April 30, seattlepi.com said. Airbnb said it’s the hosts’ responsibility to abide by city laws, as well as understand their lease agreement.

The revised terms also mentioned Airbnb’s plan to collect hotel tax for each guest, which will happen in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., soon. The terms say:

In certain jurisdictions, Airbnb may decide in its sole discretion to facilitate collection and remittance of occupancy taxes from guests on behalf of and in lieu of hosts, if such tax jurisdiction asserts Airbnb or hosts have a tax collection and remittance obligation.

To be honest, I can understand landlords’ frustration with tenants who are trying to make money by renting out space they don’t own, especially when it’s explicitly forbidden in the lease agreement and/or local ordinances.

The solution here seems simple: Read your lease and check up on your city laws before you try to rent out your place.

I haven’t used Airbnb before, but my family rents homes for vacations once or twice a year using VRBO.com. Have you ever used Airbnb? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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