Category Archives: Renting

Airbnb: Preparing Your Home

Becoming an Airbnb host is a great way to generate some extra income for that spare bedroom in your home or for the whole space when you are off visiting family and friends over holiday break. Before you take pictures of your home, set a price and post on the Airbnb site, you need to make sure your home is ready to be rented out short term by complete strangers.

Is it Legal to Rent Out Your Space?

Many Airbnb hosts, eager to keep up with rent payments while visiting friends states away, are unaware that it may be illegal to rent out their space for a day or two. Whether you rent an apartment or own a home, you need to check out the laws in your city or your rental agreement. Even if your landlord is never around and you’re only renting out your place for a night or two, you could be violating your lease and you could return home from your own trip with an eviction notice. Know all of the legalities before you decide to host, it’s not worth the risk.

Get Your Home Ready as an Airbnb Host

If you’re given the “go ahead” to be an Airbnb host, congratulations, but you will need to do a little prep work before you rent your space for your own safety and the safety and comfort of your potential renters.

  • Keep it Clean: If you have the extra funds to hire a professional cleaner, go ahead and splurge, otherwise clean your space as you see fit. The cleaner the space, the better ratings you’re likely to get. Additionally, if you don’t take the time to clean, you really can’t expect much in return from your renters. If your home is prone to dust, animal dander, or even mold, you should definitely mention something in your description.
  • Fix Up Your Space: Just as you would with a long term renter or guest, you’d make sure to fix any hazardous areas in your home, such as a loose railing, broken step, or unsafe electrical. In the event of a guest injury in your home, Airbnb offers insurance, but you also want to talk to your insurance provider and make sure what’s covered.
  • Communicate Everything: If, for some reason, something breaks right before a renter is due, make sure you communicate any potential dangers. A responsible and successful Airbnb host communicates everything. You should make all directions and expectations completely clear, as well as the inventory or space that is available. This can be something as simple as how to use the coffeepot or television remote to using the washing machine. Don’t leave any surprises for your guests or advertise that you provide one thing when you don’t have it.
  • Keep Your Valuables Safe: Whether you’re a regular host or an every-now-and-then, it’s important to keep your valuables safe from the strangers who live among your possessions. If you have an extra room, you could store important documents or heirlooms in the room and restrict access. A fireproof safe, with a combination lock or key, is also a good idea. If you are too worried about having your stuff looked at or handled, you probably should reconsider becoming an Airbnb host.

 

 

Before You Rent Out Your House: Make it Safe for Tenants

Rental properties can be a great and relatively easy investment, particularly if you find responsible renters who love the apartment or house and plan to live at the residence long term. As a landlord, you have many responsibilities which include making your property safe and sound for any potential renters.

Even if you are hesitant to put a lot of money into a property that may get wrecked by rowdy renters, you must keep tenants safe from falls due to a broken stairwell or scalding burns from an old water heater. Your investment in your renters’ safety will save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.

Your Renters Have Rights

As a landlord, you have expectations of your renters that you make clear in the lease which most often includes paying rent on time and being respectful of the rental property. However, if you fail to make the rental property “livable” you are violating your renters’ rights and they have the right to withhold rent payments, ask for compensation, or even sue you for negligence.

Even if your rental property is older and requires a little work, simply reducing the rent will not compensate for lack of safety or livability. In order for a rental property, apartment or house, to be considered a habitable living space (also known as Implied Warranty of Habitability) includes the following, but may not be limited to:

  • Structurally Safe and Sound: Stairs, floors, foundation, and the roof should all be intact and safe for inhabitants. This means that the roof should be free from leaks and flooring should be strong.
  • Keep the Basics Operational: An apartment with faulty wiring, bad plumbing, or broken elevators are a recipe for disaster and tenant injuries. A good question to ask yourself; would you live in your own rental property? If you say “no”, you’ve got some work to do.
  • Heat & Water: Heat and water are basic needs. Your renters should be supplied with hot water and heat for the colder months. Make sure that equipment to heat water, such as water heaters or boilers, are in good working condition and set to a reasonable temperature. Too hot and your tenants can be injured badly.
  • No Exposure to Toxins: Many rental properties are old homes and buildings built with materials that are now known to pose health threats (such as asbestos and lead paint). Renters must know if they could be potentially exposed to toxins and you, as a landlord, should do your best to eliminate or reduce hazardous material.

When considering the purchase of a rental property, you must always consider the safety of the building. A certified home inspector, upon thorough inspection, can report what may need to be repaired. If too many things need fixing or replacing to make it safe before you rent, it may not be a worthy investment. Remember, as a landlord, your obligations are to recognize your renter’s rights and make your property as safe as possible.