When you apply to be a host with Airbnb, you agree that the accommodation you list does not breach any lease, rental agreements or zoning laws which apply to the property.

Airbnb allows hosts to advertise a room in their home or an entire property for short-term letting to guests. Hosts name their price and Airbnb takes a small commission if the property is rented. The site has about 42,000 listing in NSW and is becoming the leader for short-term accommodation.

It’s always a good idea to check that you are complying with all the relevant laws and regulations before you advertise your property to prevent any disputes arising down the track.

Local Council
Rules and zoning laws regulating short-term rentals differ from council to council. You need to make sure you’re not breaching the Zoning Laws or Local Environmental Plan of your area or you could face a hefty fine, as a resident of Annandale recently found out. The resident was issued with a notice from Council threatening to fine him $1.1 million after his neighbour complained about him leasing his property as a short-term rental.

Different Councils have different rules about home sharing. To avoid incurring a penalty, contact your Local Council or seek professional advice before you advertise your property on Airbnb.

Airbnb provides a “$1,000,000 AUD Host Guarantee” for certain types of damage to the host’s property. This guarantee is designed to give you peace of mind when you’re renting out your property.

Airbnb provides a disclaimer that the Guarantee should not be considered a replacement or stand-in for homeowners or renters insurance. Importantly, the Guarantee doesn’t protect cash and securities, pets, personal liability (if someone renting your property is injured) or shared or common areas. Airbnb recommends that you take out independent insurance to cover items such as jewellery, collectables and artwork.

You also need to make sure that your insurance cover does not have a commercial activity exclusion. If your policy contains an exclusion it will be nearly impossible for you to claim any damage to your property caused by a guest.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is concerned about tax evasion and Airbnb arrangements. Any profit you make through leasing your home is assessable income and needs to be included in your tax return. You may also be able to claim losses associated with your rental including council rates and running costs. Make sure you keep a record of your guests, the length of their stay and the area they have leased out to make tax time easier.

You enter into a contract with the guest if they choose to stay at your property. As a host, you can impose terms and conditions on the guest that they need to comply with while they stay at your property, for example, good behaviour or the payment of a bond. Asking your guests to behave appropriately and keeping your neighbours informed about your Airbnb arrangement will help your relationship with your neighbours.

Both the Government and Airbnb are keen to protect the interests of hosts, neighbours and guests and prevent any misuse of the site. The NSW Government is proposing changes in the regulations of short-terms rentals so make sure you keep an eye on this area if you are the host of a property or plan to be a host in the future.

If you have any queries regarding leasing your property as a short term rental on Airbnb or through other agents, please call us on 9525 8688.