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Inna Shevchenko
Inna Shevchenko Marketing Manager for AirGMS
10d Canada Story
The Legal Side of Airbnb Hosting: 5 Rules to Ensure Law and Order

Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of not reading the terms and conditions from time to time. Though, with regards to Airbnb hosting the only gray areas should be your living room. As a host, it’s imperative that you make sure that you do in fact understand the small print otherwise you could see your profits go towards fines instead. 

In addition to facing fines, consider the following: according to the conditions stipulated in the agreement between Airbnb and hosts, it’s the responsibility of the host to make sure that he/she acts in accordance with all local laws. Failure to do this could mean that your contract can be regarded as illegal which could result in you having a hard time insisting on other terms and conditions. To make sure you don’t have a brush with the law, be sure to check the following five points. 

Follow your city regulations

Airbnb has taken the short-term rental industry by storm which has led to a storm of protest and opposition. Cities from all over the world have put in place regulations which hosts need to familiarize themselves with before they can start hosting.

Every city has its own set of regulations. From zoning laws to limited nights, it’s your responsibility that you familiarize yourself with the local regulations that your city has put in place. If you’re located in one of the bigger cities, the best would be to visit your municipal government which will be able to tell you more about the applicable laws. 

It might be a tedious outing, but if your listing is found to be illegal you could be slapped with steep penalties. Equally important is to check up on these regulations from time to time as they might have changed which could affect your rental. 

Obtain a business license or permit

Countless cities regard Airbnb as a business. Therefore, larger cities, in particular, might require hosts to obtain a business license for their Airbnb. In some instances this process is easy; other times it’s a headache. For example, some cities might even require you to keep a register of every single guest staying with you. 

Pay taxes in time

To make hosting even more taxing, the taxman will want his cut too. In certain jurisdictions, Airbnb will collect the tax on your behalf, while in other areas you'll be responsible for collecting it. In this case, it pays to do your homework as a failure to pay taxes could result in fines. The best is to check with a tax consultant who is familiar with short-term rentals and will be able to advise you how to complete your specific tax return.

Make sure subleasing is allowed

If you’re not the owner of the property that you’re listing on Airbnb, you must first make sure that your lease agreement doesn’t forbid subleasing. So, before you start writing that listing description, read your lease again. 

It’s definitely not worth it to rent out the property via Airbnb if subleasing is prohibited. Such behavior could see you waving goodbye to your security deposit. Worse yet, you could get evicted which would make it very difficult for you to find another place to rent.

In fact, honesty is the best policy. Therefore, rather approach your landlord about the matter at the beginning and get his/her permission in writing. 

Protect yourself with an Airbnb rental agreement

What makes an Airbnb rental agreement so great is that it offers you extra protection against sneaky surprises. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to stress some of the arrangements, specific house rules and consequences of breaking the rules. 

Just like hosts don’t like random surprises, your guests might also be taken aback if you confront them with such an agreement when they check in. So, it’s best to mention it in the description of your listing and inform them that you have the right to cancel a booking if they don’t agree with the terms. The only drawback is that Airbnb will not be able to enforce your terms and, therefore, it’s imperative that you consult with an attorney who’ll be able to see to it that it complies to state laws. 

Consider this: how will you feel when guests ignore your house rules? Therefore, set the example and read the legal considerations before you list your property on Airbnb. After all, your focus should be on building your Airbnb business and not the case that the city is building against you. 

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  • Bethany Russ
    9d ago Boston Massachusetts

    Great to know about these tips. Thanks for sharing your expertise and useful information. @Inna Shevchenko 

    Great to know about these tips. Thanks for sharing your expertise and useful information. @Inna Shevchenko 

Inna Shevchenko
Marketing Manager for AirGMS

Inna has 10 years of experience in Marketing and Content writing specifically. Currently, she is Head of Marketing at AirGMS, an Airbnb management software company. Visit AirGMS blog to find more content from Inna:

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