Though Airbnb has become a very successful business – operating in 34,000 cities around the world and valued by investors at $25.5 billion – not everyone is excited about the company’s success.
Particularly, hotels that are loosing money and local governments that have laws about short-term housing rentals are making it known that Airbnb is not necessarily a welcome guest.
If you’re someone who is considering buying a rental property to rent on Airbnb, or are currently renting on Airbnb or similar sites such as VRBO, you’ll want to know about these new changes on the horizon that could impact you.
Run-ins with the law
Some local ordinances related to banning short-term rentals have been around for a while. Though Airbnb has a guide on where to look to find these local laws related to renting, the company might be heading into tumultuous waters. Local governments have begun cracking down harder on violations, fueled by neighbors who may be unhappy about frequent transient visitors. One community in California wants to ban short-term rentals in order to keep long-term rentals available for local residents.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a new company called Host Compliance is in the business of seeking out Airbnb properties that are in violation of the law. But, the CEO’s aim isn’t to put Airbnb out of business; instead he says it’s available to help local governments gain a sense of what is going on so they come up with better regulations.
In tandem, an Airbnb spokesperson said the company is committed to working with local governments around the world to come up with solutions ‘to craft rules that work.’ Some of these new regulations have included governments collecting tax revenue on short-term rentals.
Advocates of Airbnb and companies like it say that by banning or placing restrictions on short-term rentals, local governments could be harming themselves with regard to having sufficient accommodations available for tourism.
A caution for real estate investors who use Airbnb
If you are a real estate investor or property owner who depends on Airbnb, you’ll want to be aware of these changes and adjust if necessary.
And if you’re considering investing in real estate, Clark issued a big caution on his show about buying property for the sole purpose of renting it out as an Airbnb or VRBO: Make sure if you’re buying a rental property you can convert it to a long-term rental if your local government has rules against short-term rentals. If you won’t be able to rent it out, don’t buy.
Read more: 7 lessons I learned as an Airbnb host