Airbnb has proven to be a lucrative source of income ever since it was launched in 2008. With over a million listings in 190 countries, it has helped many travelers find a comfortable place to stay in.
Nonetheless, renting out a place to other people is not as simple as it seems. There are legal responsibilities as a host that you should know about.
1. Some areas have restrictions on short-term rentals.
A lot of cities and counties impose legal restrictions on short-term rentals, which may vary in each area. For instance, multiple residential dwelling units such as an apartment building in New York City must have the same occupants for at least 30 consecutive days. It is considered illegal to have paying occupants for less than 30 days, unless it has a license to operate as a hotel or bed-and-breakfast.
2. You may need to pay taxes for listing your home in Airbnb.
Make sure that you check any local taxes or licensing requirements that may be applicable to you. This may include transient occupancy taxes, sales, Value Added Tax (VAT), income tax or Goods and Services Tax (GST).
3. Your home must comply to building and housing regulations.
States and local governments commonly impose regulations that standardize the quality of homes being listed in Airbnb in terms of design, maintenance, safety, and construction. Inspection may be performed on a property to check its habitability before the owner is allowed to offer it to the public.
4. Some areas implement zoning rules or occupancy limits on properties.
In San Luis Obispo County, CA homes that are being offered for short-term rentals should not be built within 200 feet of another rental located on the same block. Other areas like Isle of Palms, SC have occupancy limits. Only two people are allowed to stay in each bed.
5. Special restrictions for owners of coops, condos, or planned developments
Those who live in condominiums, planned developments, or cooperatives are governed by the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) or bylaws. These don’t allow short-term rentals or may subject such properties to some restrictions. The CC&Rs are implemented by the cooperative board or homeowners’ association of an area. Fines may be imposed on violators.
How to Get Information on Your Legal Responsibilities as an AirBnB host
The Airbnb web page lists the legal requirements set by different cities including links for additional information. If your area is not listed, you can consult your local municipal and administrative code.
Some regulations might be confusing, especially for those who will list their homes in Airbnb for the first time. It is highly recommended to consult a lawyer to make sure that you comply with the regulations being enforced in your area. Written by The VanMatre Law Firm, one of the top real estate attorneys in Columbia, MO.