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A house shape and word for rent made by clouds on blue skyELLYSAHO
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A house shape and word for rent made by clouds on blue skyELLYSAHO

Apartment renters love or loathe Airbnb

By Marilyn Kennedy Melia
CTW Features

Whether it’s air conditioning or an in-unit washer and dryer, renters have certain requirements in an apartment before they sign a lease.

Usually, what’s a top priority for one renter will be desirable, if not necessary, for another.

But now, what some renters want most is the ability to use Airbnb to occasionally rent out an extra bedroom or their entire apartment if they’re traveling. And, of course, other tenants can’t tolerate it being allowed in their complex or building.

“It’s a difficult issue” for apartment managers, says Rick Haughey of the NMHC, a trade group for large apartment companies. “Most are really just now coming up with policies,” he adds.

From anecdotal evidence, says Haughey, “I think the majority of landlords and tenants don’t want it.”

Landlords worry about liability if guests are hurt or cause damage, and tenants running afoul of local laws banning Airbnb or similar internet platforms for arranging short-term rentals. Apartment owners also are extremely concerned about offending other tenants who don’t like seeing new people come in and out, Haughey explains.

Still, some landlords are allowing the practice to attract tenants that want the ability to rent short-term, a practice known as “home sharing.”

Moreover, some rental companies fill empty units temporarily through Airbnb or similar home sharing platforms like Pillow, Haughey says.

For any renter planning to make extra money off empty space, it pays to investigate your landlord’s policy before signing a lease.

For one thing, if formal policy prohibits the practice, an NMHC survey found that 39 percent of apartment companies have taken enforcement action, including levying a fine or terminating the lease of violators.

Apartment owners also are entering into partnership with Airbnb under its recent Friendly Buildings Program. Under those agreements, apartment owners are notified of any Airbnb rentals planned, and they can receive a percentage of the fee “maybe ten or fifteen percent” Haughey says.

© CTW Features

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