Airbnb subletting problems

February 18, 2018

Airbnb Business

Over the last few years, Airbnb has been enjoying great success, allowing travellers to rent cheap accommodation and experience a city just as a local resident would.

However, this revolutionary concept is presenting landlords and agencies with a new kind of problem: Airbnb subletting.

Subletting has always been an issue for landlords. They buy an investment property and find a suitable tenant, only to realise that this seemingly ideal tenant is actually subletting the flat to a third party. This creates no end of problems, such as voiding the owner’s insurance and angering those who may be living in the same apartment building or on the same block.

This type of subletting is something which is now happening increasingly frequently, because tenants can easily use sites such as Airbnb to sublet.

As an agency that works on behalf of landlords to ensure that they find their ideal investment property, this is something we want to address.  

Why is Airbnb relevant?

With a slogan that reads ‘belong anywhere’, the Airbnb concept is simple: a person who owns a flat or house offers the whole place, or a room, to a visitor who wants to experience the city more like someone who lives there. The person who owns the flat or house will often be close by or actually living in the property too. They will offer advice on where to go, where to eat, and plenty of other snippets of wisdom.

The problem arises when a tenant, rather than an owner, chooses to advertise a property on Airbnb. This is something which is prohibited in the majority of lease agreements, and the odds are that the landlord would not be too happy to know that his/her property is being occupied by someone other than the person(s) he/she approved in the first place.

In addition to this, such a move is in stark contrast with the Airbnb concept. The person doing the subletting will often have no interest in looking after the Airbnb visitor, and will simply be using the site for his/her own interests. This can have disastrous consequences for the Airbnb visitor, as his/her trip could take a horrible turn if the owner of the property finds out about what the tenant is doing.

As mentioned at the start of this article, there is also the issue of the property owner’s insurance. This will only cover the person(s) named on the contract, and so if something happens when another person is living in the property, the owner’s insurance could be void.

While Airbnb has strict policies in place concerning subletting, it remains a problem.

The Waltham Estates Ethos on Subletting  

This is something that we at Waltham Estates take very seriously. We appreciate that our clients often make huge investments in properties, and one of the most important parts of their investment is knowing exactly to whom they are leasing their pride and joy.

We have in place efficient and strict policies regarding subletting, whether it is being done through Airbnb or through other avenues. Any tenant found to be subletting will be immediately told to ensure that anyone to whom they have sublet the property moves out immediately and that the property is removed from Airbnb. If this does not yield results, our legal experts will initiate court action to ensure that the terms of the contract are being adhered to.

In combination with this, we also encourage all those living in buildings we deal with to keep an eye out for anything they suspect could be subletting activity. If it is revealed that subletting is going on, Airbnb is usually quick to act and will block the Airbnb user’s account so that they can no longer advertise properties.

The future?

In addition to our strict approach when it comes to Airbnb subletting, the company itself is making strides in dealing more efficiently with such problems. The coming years should see the eradication of this problem, and the hassle it creates for landlords as well as agencies.

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