What you need to know about Airbnb and strata
Airbnb has quickly changed the rental property industry. It has become a convenient and relatively easy way for people to make extra money by either renting out entire homes or just rooms.
And people in strata complexes are taking advantage of Airbnb’s influence. For those living in strata schemes, it is essential to understand all matters surrounding this.
If you are a strata owner, there are ways to promote or squash Airbnb access in your building. Keep reading to find out more.
The fears surrounding Airbnb in strata
With rental agreements, there is usually an application process, a more standardised contract and a stable relationship between the building owner and the renter.
Airbnb allows strangers to live in a scheme without the foundation of really knowing much about them. There is less responsibility on the Airbnb guest than there is with a full-time renter, so the likelihood of accidents, vandalism or rule-breaking is higher.
Also, because multiple people will gain access to the building through Airbnb, it increases the chance of keys being copied, unauthorised access or dangerous activity.
This could see an increase in theft, destruction and other hindrances like noise.
If your building gains a reputation for being unable to control safety concerns, it could topple potential growth.
With any scheme, there is a certain quality of life that the owner is trying to create through the rules and by-laws of a strata agreement.
Permanent guests develop a sense of respect and healthy fear of the rules because of the shared living arrangement. However, because Airbnb guests are temporary renters, they bring the uncertainty of rule-keeping. They may either be great houseguests or party animals.
The control of noise, pets, parties and other social behaviour is harder to manage with Airbnb guests.
This could create problems between multiple people in the complex. Or worse, it could drive people to seek living arrangements elsewhere.
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We have all heard of the shock and horror stories of ‘bad renters’. But most of the time, we experience good and honest people living in strata schemes.
Airbnb, however, opens the door to a wider variety of people. This means the likelihood of damage and accident also increases.
Property damage becomes a sticky issue, because if something is damaged, is it the owner’s fault, the Airbnb guest or the strata complex?
It may seem obvious who is at fault, but what if they are unwilling to comply and they are international guests? It can be difficult to follow up and actually resolve the issue.
Besides physical damage, there is a danger that your building’s standard and reputation could be affected, too. People might associate your building with a ‘party’ or ‘holiday’ inn rather than a permanent residence.
These concerns should be considered when you’re looking to rent your home out or if you are a strata owner thinking about ways to mitigate the influence/access of Airbnb.
Solutions against Airbnb
Although there are some strata owners who are willing to host places on Airbnb, there are others who deem the risks too high.
However, they may be unsure as to how to limit the Airbnb craze. Here are ways to deal with this issue.
Having a by-law that restricts the right to sublet could curb Airbnb hosting for a while, but be warned that this right has been successfully challenged in the courts by a renter before.
It may depend on what area of Australia you are in; establishing clear lines may slow the process, but these laws can still be challenged.
2) Establish a clear contract
If you are worried about the growing impact of Airbnb, then you can always establish definite lines before new renters enter your scheme.
By being honest and upfront at the start and having in writing the rules and regulations, you could stop the problem before it begins.
Perhaps there are some people in your property who really want to use listing platform. And because they are already a part of your complex and have subletting rights, you may be able to get involved in the rules they make with Airbnb.
Sometimes controlling the action rather than prohibiting it can work well.
The truth is, there is so much change about the use of strata subletting. Even governments are getting involved to help owners maintain building rights whilst still allowing certain freedoms.
If there is a strata renter in your building and you are genuinely concerned about their Airbnb use, you can always ‘tattle’ on them. Especially if they are not declaring their earnings to the Australian Tax Office.
Overall, as a strata owner, it is important to recognise trends and put systems in place to curb their influence if undesired or promote their use if you are in favour.
At Strata & Co., we are the finest strata management company in Sydney offering the most comprehensive services possible.
If you need legal advice or counsel regarding Airbnb or other aspects of your strata, then we are your team. Call us at 1300 033 947 to talk to our friendly staff for more information.
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