Airbnb is an online community that unites people looking to rent their homes with people looking for accommodations. Airbnb users include hosts and travelers in over 190 countries worldwide. While Airbnb at first appealed to the budget conscious “couch-surfing” tourists, it has quickly expanded to business travelers searching for a more memorable experience to learn a foreign city as a local. Airbnb promotes itself as being a “trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.”
Airbnb hosts can list their properties, which could be a single room, suite of rooms, apartments, yachts, houseboats, and entire houses, mansions, or castles. It is free to create a listing and hosts can decide how much they are going to charge per night, week, or month for travelers. However, if you are looking to host your pad as a short-term rental to earn a little extra income off of Airbnb, there are some things you have to know before you list.
First, you need to find out if your city, neighborhood, homeowner’s association, etc. allows you to rent your home and/or apartment out to vacationers. Unfortunately, there are many legal restrictions nationwide on short-term rentals, and they are not uniform across states and even in a state they vary.
In Miami Beach, for example, City law permits short-term rentals only in certain areas of the Beach. Neighbors of the Beach are unhappy with Airbnb and its competitors because of the noisy parties thrown by guests, and the hotel industry in the area is also unhappy with Airbnb because hosts do not have to pay local resort taxes. Due to the Airbnb’s popularity, Miami Beach is starting to crack down on illegal short-term rentals by assessing fines as high as $20,000 per violation. Now in Miami Beach, in order for hosts to advertise units on Airbnb, they will now have to submit an affidavit to the city affirming that their property lies in an area approved for short-term tenants and that they have obtained a business tax receipt and resort tax account. Hosts will also have to show that their condo associations also allow for short-term rentals. If a host violates these provisions, fines start at $1,000.
So, where do you go to find out if your City allows for short-term rentals? If you live in a condominium, cooperative, or planned development with a homeowner’s association, your use of property is governed by restrictions called covenants and bylaws. These types of communities may forbid short-term rentals entirely to keep the community more family-friendly and free from transient visitors. You can also check your HOA and/condo association’s declaration or restrictions that are recorded in the public records of each county. These declarations and restrictions should inform homeowners whether short-term rentals are permitted within the community. Another area to check is your local municipal or administrative code, which you may find online or at your local library in City Hall. You can also call your city’s zoning board or local housing authority to inform you on the laws of the state.
If you have a legal matter involving short-term rentals, please contact the attorneys at the Kendrick Law Group today.