Airbnb Rules: 6-Step Checklist to Stay Within the Law

While Airbnb business might be a lucrative endeavor, it is important to make sure your property listing complies with the law and Airbnb rules & regulations. Here are several points you should take into account before setting up your listing on vacation rental sites.

Before listing your property on Airbnb, it is a good idea to do some research. First, you need to check whether there are any specific rules regarding short-term rentals in your city. If you are not the actual owner of the property, it won’t hurt also to check your lease agreement. In many cases subleasing is not permitted and you can end up being evicted if you start renting out your property to Airbnb guests.

Airbnb rules and regulations vary greatly from location to location given the fact that the Airbnb rules are often based on what the local laws are for short-term rentals in each location. That said, there are some general rules that apply to most locations that you can use as a starting point in determining whether or not your listing is actually allowed. Here are the top things to look for when you check to see if your listing complies with Airbnb rules.

Airbnb rules for hosting

1. Check Your Short Term Rental Airbnb Rules

The first step to determining whether or not your listing will be allowed per Airbnb rules is determining exactly what rules and Airbnb regulations apply to short-term rentals in your area. Not all places allow Airbnb or home-sharing while other places have laws in place to govern the practice via business licensing, zoning regulations, and hotel ordinances.

Airbnb has created some local help pages to provide you with some preliminary guidance. Here are some examples:

What regulations apply to my city? | Airbnb Help Center

Responsible hosting in the United States (scroll down to see your city’s regulations section)

If you’re struggling to find this information online, consider contacting your local government offices directly. When you do this, you just may uncover that the rules are actually different depending on the exact city or town you live in. You might even discover that there are only a couple of (or possibly even no) restrictions regarding vacation rentals in your city. So, you will be able to proceed with listing your property without any obstacles.

2. Obtain the Necessary Permits and Licenses

Many cities in North America require you to obtain permits and a business license before you can begin operating your Airbnb business. While the exact requirements can vary, there is often no difference between renting out a room of your home and having multiple properties listed on Airbnb.

To your local government, you will be considered as a real estate business owner. Depending on where you’re located, these documents may have different names, such as a ‘business license,’ ‘lodgers tax license’, ‘land use permit,’ or ‘TOT certificate.’ If you have more than one property, even if they are located within the same state, you may be required to obtain different licenses or permits for each property before it can be listed on Airbnb.

3. Check the Taxation Rules

In some tax jurisdictions, Airbnb is required to collect the local occupancy tax on your behalf. However, in other locations, Airbnb hosts are solely responsible for making sure that the necessary taxes are paid from their Airbnb earnings.

You may also need to register for a tax identification number in order to pay these taxes by their due dates. It is important that you understand that taxation rules aren’t always covered by Airbnb rules explicitly but you will still be required to pay them.

4. Make Sure to Comply With Safety and Insurance Regulations

Airbnb rules for hosts

 

Once you’ve determined what documents you need in order to start an Airbnb business, you’ll also need to bring your property into compliance as well. Every location has its own safety regulations for tenants, such as making sure that smoke detectors are installed or that the property has a fire exit, in order to protect Airbnb guests in the event of an emergency. Make sure that you have performed the necessary renovations to your property and obtained the proper insurance to ensure guests’ safety.

5. Be a Good Neighbor

In addition to safety requirements, Airbnb rules also dictate that you should be mindful of your neighbors. That means that you need to ensure that rules that apply to your community or apartment building won’t be in conflict with having Airbnb guests stay at your property. If your building has noise, smoking, parking, and pet policies, make sure that you cover these in your House Rules in your Airbnb listing profile.

6. Don’t Try to Oversell Your Rental

Be careful while creating descriptions and titles for your listings. Airbnb appreciates accuracy and honesty. So, don’t try to go overboard by showing off your property. 

Airbnb’s Content Policy is pretty straightforward: if a listing is misleading or provides any deceptive details, it is going to be removed from the platform. In other words, your property’s photos, description, and the title should totally live up to guests’ expectations.

Conclusion

The most important thing to understand is that these rules are not only being made by Airbnb. In fact, you could actually land yourself in a lot of trouble and end up having to pay fines to the government or even be brought up on criminal charges if you ignore them. So make sure that you understand what is involved and read the Airbnb rules carefully before you post your new listing on Airbnb.

If you are still not sure after reviewing all of these factors whether your listing will be allowed per Airbnb rules, contact Airbnb directly for further assistance. This might be your best bet, especially in areas where there are strict local government controls on short-term vacation rentals.

Once you’ve covered all of these important steps to determine if your Airbnb listing is allowed, you’ll be ready to create your listing and start earning. Good luck!

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