When AirBNB Goes Wrong

Many people have benefitted from the service that AirBNB provides. It allows people to find a place to stay where hotels might otherwise be too expensive or rare, and it allows others to make money from renting out their homes or apartments when they’re out of town. Everyone wins… provided that neither the “guest” nor the “host” do anything untoward. Because if they do, and you happen to be the landlord whose tenant became embroiled in an AirBNB-related debacle, you could have a major headache on your hands.

Strictly speaking, the practice of a tenant temporarily renting out their apartment to someone else isn’t new. Broadly speaking, it’s referred to as “subletting,” and it goes back a very long time. However, AirBNB and other similar services facilitate the process of subletting by matching tenants with prospective sublessees, making it easier to do than ever before. But AirBNB doesn’t screen their “hosts” or “guests” to any real degree, beyond getting them to agree to certain terms of service before partaking in their service. Which means if something goes wrong, such as mentioned in this article where a guest turned their rented space into a pop-up brothel, you could wind up dealing with the legal and financial fallout.

Generally, the best way to keep this from becoming a problem is to insert a clause into your lease agreement that makes subletting explicitly forbidden. You may not be able to stop your tenants from breaking that clause of your lease agreement, but at least you won’t be held legally liable, and you can additionally hold the tenant in violation of their agreement and kick them out.  Beyond that, however, it can also just be a good idea to talk to your tenants about renting out the apartments, and making sure they’re wary of the potential problems that can arise from taking advantage of services like AirBNB.

If you are a landlord or tenant concerned with subletting, contact an experienced landlord/tenant attorney for help. The Long Island real estate and landlord/tenant lawyers of McGuire, Peláez & Bennett, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling real estate matters, and will fight zealously for your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Central Islip real estate lawyers at (631) 348-1702 or fill out our contact form.

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