Dear Airby: Do I have to own?

This edition of Dear Airby is based on Fantastic Finds, one of the 10 Steps found in
Master of Vacation Rentals.


“Dear Airby,

I know there are many hosts out there doing illegal sublet as well as illegal short term rentals against their landlord’s wishes but I’m interested in doing above board legal short term rental at a property that fits the bill in Step 1, Fantastic Finds in Master of Vacation Rentals.

Is it possible to arrange this and do it legally without risk to my landlord?

Please help!

– Laurie from Savannah, GA

Dear Laurie,

Where did you come from? Most people are looking for ways around doing things the right way! The world needs more well intentioned hosts like you.

The good news is that there are legal ways to do it and also ways that mitigate most (don’t want to say all but nearly all) risk to you and your landlord.

My formula for using a rented property as my own hosted vacation rental would be to propose to pay a bit above asking rent to your prospective landlord. This does a couple things, it gets them to even listen to the prospect and it makes up for extra wear and tear that could come up with short term rental activity.

Once you have them listening then you need to do two other things: tell them you will get fully insured with a Lloyd’s of London policy that you pay for and name them as an insured for any and all possible liability resulting from you running a short term vacation rental business on the property. These policies generally cost 2x or more than normal homeowners. After you have shown you are serious then tell them you are open to (and prefer) a more than a 1 year lease option so that they will minimize the downtime between when one renter leaves and they find the next one + they will minimize ‘get ready’ expense (the expenses associated with repainting, carpet cleaning and other repairs) that need to be done to attract the next renter. Having the option to rent for an extended period is great for your business – especially when you get repeat guests and rave reviews.

Some might argue that you do not need to pay more and even might offer to pay less to a landlord for all the benefits that come with short term rentals. The benefits include a potentially longer lease period and low risk of having to evict a tenant as short term tenants do not have the same rights as long term tenants. Tenants that have to be evicted have also been known to totally trash a place – this goes away with short term rentals. If the rental is in a vacation destination, they landlord might even enjoy a stay during downtime at their own property!



Dear Airby: Do I have to own?

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