Clearly Articulating Your Short-Term Rental Policies & Understanding Local Regulations
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have recently exploded in popularity as travelers are looking to rent out rooms or homes in lieu of getting a hotel room. A quick search unveils numerous success stories of people making significant income just by renting space on these platforms. But what does it mean for multifamily property investors?
Multifamily property investors need to stay up to date on their local regulations and keep their residents apprised on the rules. Here are some questions to consider for better understanding regional short-term rental regulations and setting the record straight with residents:
Does the City of Houston currently have short-term rental laws in place?
No, the City of Houston currently does not have any laws on short-term rentals. The state of Texas does, however, levy a six percent tax on rentals, much like a hotel occupancy tax.
Room rentals vs. apartment rentals – does it matter?
New York City requires that renters must be full-time residents of the property being rented. Therefore, in NY, renting out an entire apartment for a stay of less than 30 days is illegal, meaning only a room can be rented in New York.
When does length of stay come into play?
San Francisco limits the number of nights that can be rented a year to 90 days and all hosts must register with the city. In addition, a 14 percent tourist tax is levied for each night on the guest. Los Angeles, however, only allows hosts to rent out their primary residency for a maximum of 120 days a year. Each host is required to register and pay $89 to the city each year.
What’s the best way to approach the topic with multifamily residents?
The short-term rental market is still evolving and, as a result, some questions have yet to be answered. In many cases, residents may have the same questions as property owners. The best practice for addressing the topic is to simply include a short-term policy line item in rental agreements. The TAA Lease, for example, does forbid subletting, thus the rental of all or even part of an apartment by the leaseholder is forbidden. This does not stop the property owner to rent certain units directly to VRBO or Airbnb users.
With the continuing use of short-term rental platforms, governments are searching for the best ways to ensure a fair and safe experience for everyone involved. When investing in and running multifamily properties, it’s important to help your residents clearly understand your policies as well as those of local ordinances.