Today we are talking a little bit about what to do when you find out your tenant is subleasing your property on a site like AirBNB or VRBO. It’s hard to find out if your tenant is doing this because if you go to AirBNB, you cannot search the site by address. They give you a general location and a vague map. You might not find your tenant’s name listed as a host, either. There could be another contact name. Often, you will find out about these short term rentals from neighbors who observe people moving in and out frequently with suitcases. They might hear different people buzzing in and out or staying up later at night; perhaps they are a little bit noisier than the usual tenants.
If one of your tenants alerts you that something like this is going on in your property, you need to take it seriously and act immediately. In San Francisco, rules are somewhat in flux and may be changing. Local agencies, the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Lee are trying to embrace this economy of shared, short term housing and they have proposed zoning changes that would make it easier for tenants to have short term leasing agreements.
Usually, there is a clause in your lease that covers and prohibits subleases. That means that regardless of the zoning laws that may or may not change, chances are your rental agreement will protect your property from subletting.
Stay on top of this if you suspect your tenant is placing your property on these websites. If this happens, your tenants are making money off your rent-controlled property. Other tenants will also complain and most importantly, your insurance policy may get cancelled if your insurance carrier finds out you have short term rentals at the property.
When someone alerts you that this type of subletting might be going on in your building or at your house, get an attorney right away and make it stop. This is not a situation you want to be a part of.
Please contact us at Gordon Property Management if you suspect a tenant has listed your property on one of these sites, and you need help taking the appropriate steps to put a stop to such behavior.