Tax and legal advice
Rolf Howard

Airbnb leasing: What are a landlord’s rights and responsibilities?

By Rolf Howard

Until the emergence of Airbnb, landlord’s rights and responsibilities were clearly defined by laws that have been successfully in place for decades. But with the advent of a new form of short-term rental agreement available to those on holiday, or just passing through town, landlords now face questions that have few answers.

Initially, the attempt to regulate when landlords choose to list their property for short-term rental on Airbnb, has come under Section 258 of the Strata Schemes Management Act of 2015. The Act states that a landlord or property owner must notify the corporate holder of the property of any changes that are anticipated in the lease or the sublease of a property within 14 days of the change of the composition of the residents. The information must include the names and addresses of those who will be occupying the residence. In the instance that such information is not provided, the landlord can be held accountable in a court of law and fined $550.

The question then becomes, how does the body corporate discover that the properties are not being occupied by the tenants that have already been screened and approved? There are several ways in which this information can be discovered, including:

  • Reviewing the websites of short-term rental companies, such as Airbnb, to see if the property in question is listed;
  • Visiting the property and watching for the entrance and exit of unfamiliar tenants; and
  • Requesting that other tenants and neighbours watch for unfamiliar visitors and reporting the same to the owner’s corporations.

However, as the problem continues to grow, additional solutions are being presented to the public for their review and comment. Currently the NSW government is proposing the following possibilities to both protect landlords and to promote the economic growth that companies such as Airbnb present to the community.

The following are being proposed:

  • Short-term leasers would be required to pay a tax that would ensure the coverage of the additional usage of amenities by short-term renters, including but not limited to electricity, water, parking, and security needs;
  • A legally imposed time limit on a short-term rental to ensure that the properties are only being used to accommodate vacationers and people on a short holiday or business stay; and
  • Considerations to protect the rights and the safety of neighbours so as to reduce the number of strangers coming and going from residential neighbourhoods.

Striking the proper balance between homeowners, neighbours and the existing laws is a difficult issue. Homeowners and landlords want to preserve their right to do as they please with the homes that they own. This includes the right to lease or sublet their properties for the purpose of financial gain.

Neighbours and communities want to preserve the familiarity of those coming and going from the neighbourhood to protect their safety and the safety of their dwellings. In addition, there are regulatory considerations that must be taken into consideration. These include:

1. Food health and safety concerns
2. Fire or disability access regulations
3. The requirement for public liability insurance

All of the concerns held by landlords, neighbours and legal agencies are reasonable and tenable positions.

A further concern for landlords is the short-term rentals and/or sublets by tenants who do not have permission to do so. In many cases landlords have entered into lease agreements with tenants only after careful scrutiny of the renter to ensure they are renting to financially capable and personally responsible individuals. Yet, landlords are discovering that their approved tenants are then placing the properties on rental sites and subletting the spaces without permission to do so. In these instances, landlords have found themselves with little recourse. Airbnb has indicated that they are not privy to the agreement between the landlord and the tenant, but only to the agreement made between the occupant and the guest. As such, they offer no assistance to those landlords who find their properties being rented via Airbnb.

On the other hand, a recent case allowed a homeowner the right to use Airbnb, overturning the Strata laws in favor of the freedom to do as one pleases with their home. This landmark decision will have significant repercussions for neighbourhoods and the enforcement of bylaws contained in the agreements between homeowners and their governing boards.

To date there is no overarching perfect solution for any of the parties involved. However, there are some common sense precautions a landlord or homeowner can take when deciding to list their property on a short-term rental site:

  • Before using a short-term rental site be sure to carefully review and read all of the terms contained in your service agreement;
  • Keep in mind that the online booking service does not venture into handling disputes that could arise between the homeowner and the visitor. Any issues that arise will need to be handled only between the two participating parties;
  • Check your local town or city restrictions so as not to be in violation of any citywide ordinances;
  • Create clear terms and conditions between yourself and your potential guests;
  • Take safety precautions with keys or electronic entrances;
  • Be clear about the services you will provide your guests including towels, sheets, and hygiene products and the use of home amenities;
  • If you are taking security deposits be sure they are kept in a reliable account so that the monies can be properly returned at the end of the tenure;
  • Inspect your property for safety issues and be sure to clearly describe the types of access available to the property to ensure that persons with disabilities will be able to adequately access both the outside and inside areas of the property; and
  • Provide receipts to show payment has been properly rendered.

If a landlord or homeowner is careful in their research and preparations for short-term guests, it is possible to successfully, and legally, lease to short-term tenants via Airbnb.

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About the Blogger

Rolf Howard

Rolf Howard

Rolf is Managing Partner of Owen Hodge Lawyers. He has been in the legal practice since 1986 and a partner of Owen Hodge Lawyers since 1992. Rolf focuses on assisting clients to proactively manage legal responsibilities and opportunities to achieve competitive advantage.

Rolf concentrates on business planning and formation, directors’ duties, corporate governance, fund raising and business succession. His major interest is to assist business owners and their financial advisers plan and implement strategies to build and exit from successful businesses.

FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”.  He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Now, 16 years on Luke has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

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Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

" ["fulltext"]=> string(3002) "

Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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