Would you rent out your home on AirBnB?

Old Aug 16, 12, 2:06 pm
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Would you rent out your home on AirBnB?

Obviously on FlyerTalk, many of us travel a fair bit.

I've been wondering if it would possibly be worth it to rent out my apartment at the edge of downtown Vancouver when I travel. It looks like the AirBnB rate would be in the $115/night range or so, based on a quick survey of available spots.

It's obvious what could go wrong - bad tenants.

The upside is financing my travels.

Have you done this? Would you do it? Have you quit doing it? I'd like to hear your opinions and experiences.
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Old Aug 16, 12, 2:14 pm
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No way, not ever. My house is nice, it has nice things in it, and I just don't trust perfect strangers to not screw anything up. But even if I had a very basic apartment and was desperate for cash, reading this story last year would pretty much have scared me away from airbnb: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-200...-bad-to-worse/. If you were even contemplating doing so, I'd think you'd want to make sure you'd cleared out anything of value, all personal files, documents, etc.
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Old Aug 16, 12, 2:22 pm
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I would be very careful about it. Lock up your valuables, make sure you have pictures of the apartment as evidence if anything goes wrong, and if you know your neighbors ask them to keep an eye on the guests while you're gone.

With that said, there's no need to be paranoid. The odds of getting a bad tenant are quite low.
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Old Aug 16, 12, 2:40 pm
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I love Airbnb

as a renter. Have had fabulous experiences. But that was also in the early days when it was more "underground." Now everyone knows about it so the pool of potential tenants is much larger. Which is good and bad.

That said, if I were to rent out our apartment - first of all we can't due to lease restrictions on guests and subletters. So if you own your place, no big deal. If you rent, are the LL/other tenants OK with this? If not how will you handle it?

Locking up valuables is an excellent idea. As you would if you did home exchange which has been around for a LONG time.

There are many potential renters on airbnb now who have their own reviews - mostly foreign (to the US ) travelers. You could stick w/ renters who have already used Airbnb w/ no problems.

Being away when your tenants arrive is an issue. You have no way to evaluate them or in worst cases, say no. That is PART of how the awful situation in SF occured.

If you know when your travels will be - if you have advance notice and it's for a week or more at a time, you MIGHT consider seeing if a rental agency would take it on and you'd pay them a fee. It may be illegal in Vancouver, or you might have to pay biz taxes but it's an idea. Or you might hook up a local B and B agency (here in SF we have several, for ex.) who could book for you.

Good luck!

Some hosp
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Old Aug 19, 12, 10:42 pm
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It's a neat idea, but a bit too creepy for me. My wife and I would never do it.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 1:29 am
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We have rented holiday homes all over the world for years now, both through agencies and direct with the owners, and like to think that we leave the properties we rent at least in the state we found them, if not even cleaner and tidier.

There are good and bad potential tenants out there, and all you can do is remove all your valuables, and have insurance in place before handing over the keys.

Personally, I wouldn't list the property with air bob as they seem to limit the contact with the renter beforehand allowing you to check them out.
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Old Aug 21, 12, 5:41 pm
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I have 9 months left of my lease in NYC. I bought a place outside of the city and actually have been making more money then my rent through AirBnB. I may even renew my lease. Of course, there is a live in superintendent that checks on the valuables. I have nothing of significant value or personal items in pictures. So far, the no issues. The key is to check people in and out and inspect the apartment.

That being said, I would never rent my place outside of the city.
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Old Aug 21, 12, 5:49 pm
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What sort of due diligence can you reasonably do on prospective AirBnB tenants?
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Old Aug 21, 12, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by WillTravel View Post
What sort of due diligence can you reasonably do on prospective AirBnB tenants?
Charge a large security deposit (I charge 1500 per stay). This ensures they are financially stable since you can't run a credit report.

Look at their reviews and message previous landlords to see how they were as a tenant.

Ask for an employer reference and call them.

AirBnB doesn't make it too easy though. Things have gotten better since that theft occurred, but it's still the landlords responsibility to make sure the tenant is good. I haven't had an issue renting my West Village space though, but I do take more precautions then the average landlord.
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Old Aug 21, 12, 5:56 pm
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I would if it was allowed by my rental company. I don't have many valuables (would remove them) and seems like the good people outweigh the bad if you're somewhat selective.
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Old Aug 22, 12, 11:41 am
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I wouldn't let strangers stay in my home. For starters, it's a health and safety nightmare (it's a small house, so I have stuff like a weight bench, squat rack and free weights + dumbells in the kitchen where someone could trip over them then, knowing my luck, be able to sue for it).

Secondly, I work from home and have a lot of expensive stuff that I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving in the house while a stranger was there.

I did once let a stranger stay in my home (I bumped in to him while walking home with my husband during some extreme and unexpected snowstorms, and when we heard how far he had to walk we figured it was the decent thing to do). He was a model guest, and we're still in touch today, but it felt odd having a stranger in the house.
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Old Aug 22, 12, 9:06 pm
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Airbnb not for every mindset

We just did our first Airbnb rental and it worked very well for us. Part of that is because I exchanged a number of emails with the owner of each property we were considering and chose to rent from the one I felt most comfortable with. There are a variety of ways to rent via Airbnb: bed, room, whole property.

Part of the Airbnb process is that the keys are handed off in person and each party has something like 24 hours to contact Airbnb about problems before the payment is released to the property owner - I had to pay Airbnb when I made the reservation, so that they had time to make sure the funds were actually available.

I will definitely rent this way again - $79/night for 1 bedroom flat with full kitchen and wifi, welcomed kid and cat, in Montreal. For us it was an unbeatable deal.

We are actually considering listing our guest room on Airbnb for short term rentals while we are in the house. Just because of the amount of stuff we have (way too much to lock up) I would not consider renting out the whole house while we were away.

But this system requires a certain level of trust and good will from both parties. It is definitely not for everyone.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 1:04 pm
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We've done quite a few home exchanges. The nice thing about that is that you can see the other person's house first via photos, which tells you a lot about that person. You can also ask for references, arrange for a video skype call, and ask to see their facebook profile etc. since the arrangement often takes place several weeks before the exchange.

I know people that placed their Washington DC home on Air BnB and had a great experience. I probably wouldn't do it because I don't like the idea of the landlord/renter experience in my own home. (Home exchange feels more like friends or guests with an expectation that your house will be treated as such. The process also establishes you as aquaintences early on in the arrangement.)

If you are considering Air BnB, and fear of the "worst" happening is the only thing stopping you, I'd say give it a careful tryout. Don't be afraid to say "No" if something doesn't feel right. I would also avoid a last minute "need to arrange this rental right away/immediately" situation. Seems like that is when things go wrong. Given your location, I think you will have a lot of interest. Good Luck and let us know what happens!
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Old Oct 4, 12, 10:14 pm
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I have rented out some of my pied--terres to strangers even via free online listings. Never had a bad experience yet. All but one time, I was able to return the security deposits in full. [The one time I wasn't able to return the security deposit it was because I lost contact with the person after the refund check was returned to me as undeliverable by the postal service.]

I almost always rented out to couples or visiting business persons.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by squeakr View Post

That said, if I were to rent out our apartment - first of all we can't due to lease restrictions on guests and subletters. So if you own your place, no big deal.
Even if you own your own place there could be rent restrictions. At my condo, there is a maximum number of units that can be rented at any one time. Right now we are at our max so if someone wanted to rent out their unit, they couldn't. Check with your HOA first if you own to see if there is a renter's cap on your units, and remember, if there is a cap, what may be available today could be rented tomorrow......
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