By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Monday, July 1, 2019
Whether you’re looking to rent out your beach shack during the holidays or register your apartment on a share service like Airbnb, there are few things you need to think about before welcoming guests.
Here are a few tips for landlords looking to rent out their properties to short-term visitors.
1. Choose how you manage the property
First, you’ll need to decide if you’ve got time to manage the property yourself or if you want to outsource to a real estate agency.
If you manage the rental yourself, you’ll have to organise cleaning, keep the garden looking pretty and restock consumables like soap, tea, coffee and toilet paper.
The customer service side of renting to short-term tenants can also be labour intensive. You need to respond to guest enquires, be available to let them into the property and be on-call to handle any issues.
If you’ve got multiple properties and a full-time job this could be tricky, so choosing a real estate agency to manage your assets may be the better option.
2. Find the right tenants
You’ll want tenants that respect and care for your property. While house-sharing platforms like Airbnb and Stayz allow you to set certain parameters for guests, it can be a bit harder if you’re renting out your property privately.
If you employ a real estate agent, they’ll take a deposit and check the property after a guest has left. House sharing websites let you see your potential guests’ full profiles and reviews left by other property owners.
This can help give you an idea of the sort of person that will be staying at your house.
While Airbnb and similar house-sharing platforms have protections for both the renter and the property owner, there are still a few red flags to look out for when you’re using a share platform.
Firstly, beware of potential guests who try to communicate with you outside the platform.
If your guest wants to contact you externally, there’s probably a reason. You should also consider the type of questions your guest is asking while you’re talking online.
If they’re asking questions about surveillance, neighbours that might be present or anything else you think sounds a bit dodgy, then it might be best to use your instincts and decide whether to push the booking aside.
3. Provide clear rules
You need to find a balance when setting house rules for guests. While you want to make sure your property is looked after, you don’t want to be overbearing and risk scaring off potential guests.
Consider implementing these rules.
- Smoking: Is it permitted? Is there a designated space for it?
- Extra guests: Are they allowed? How many?
- Off-limit areas: Are there places guest can’t go?
- Laundry: Where do guests put it?
- Gatherings or parties: Are guests allowed to hold parties?
- Pets: Are they allowed, and are there designated spaces for them?
- Cleaning: Where does rubbish go? Do dishes need to be cleaned?
4. Make sure you’re covered
You’ll want to make sure you get landlord insurance if you’re looking to rent your property for short-stay guests.
Short-stay insurance protects your investment if tenants or their pets damage your property. It also covers things such as loss of rent if damage occurs to the property and can’t be let.
5. Declare your income with the tax department
Any money you make through short-stay renting or a home-sharing platform needs to be declared in your tax return.
There are a number of variables that could impact whether or not you have to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). These include how much you’re earning as a landlord, the platform you’re using to rent the property and the price you’re charging.
For peace of mind, it’s best to speak to your accountant before you begin renting your property to short-stay tenants.