Time to think about adding one more task to your checklist before renting your property. If you didn’t already have enough to do, you can now add reviewing and addressing your subletting policy to your agenda.
Being specific in your lease agreement and explaining to the tenant about your subletting policy has now become a bigger issue than ever before. Companies like Airbnb now allow people to rent/sublet their rooms to travelers for a day, or even months. This is a great convenience for travelers, but sometimes not so great for the landlords that own the property.
Recently in New York, a tenant turned a 3-bedroom apartment into a 10-bedroom apartment to sublet on Airbnb. Once the landlord of the property found out about the unapproved renovations from the neighbors, he sent his own work crew in to tear down the renovations and change the locks. He attempted to evict his tenants and their Airbnb guests, but the tenants filled a court order and were allowed back into the apartment. The landlord is working towards properly evicting the tenants who are, in the meantime, still renting out their now-cloth-divided rooms to guests.
Some tenants are violating the law by subletting their entire property to guests while they are not there.
As a landlord, you are responsible for who is residing within your property. Protect yourself and others by reviewing your lease and the clauses for alterations and subletting.
To protect yourself, and protect your right to evict your tenants, make simple changes to your lease language. Prohibit your tenants from making unapproved alterations to the property. Specify the length of time guests are allowed to reside in the property before being required to be added to the lease. If you are completely against allowing your tenants to rent a room to guests, include that language in the lease.
Thoroughly go over the lease with your tenants, explaining policies about subletting if needed. If you are still worried about your tenants hosting guests, physically check on your property. Also be sure to check the online rental websites for your property address.
Though tenants subletting your property can be a very troubling experience, there are benefits too. If you allow your tenant to sublet with written consent (which makes it legal), the tenant then becomes responsible for the property if damaged by guests. The extra income from the guests can help ensure that your rental payments will be received in full and on time. You are still responsible for who is on your property. If you allow your tenants to sublet, require them to perform a background check on the guest and share the information with you.
As always, remain mindful of the situations that you are inadvertently allowing yourself to be responsible for. Protect yourself accordingly.