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Can You Airbnb a Condo? Hosts Should Be Careful of the HOA!

If you’re in need of some extra cash, you may have considered trying to Airbnb your condo. Well, you’re not the only one. In fact, short-term rental properties have become quite the rage and can be an easy way to bring in good money. But there are some serious pitfalls you should look out for…

airbnb-condo-condominium

So Can You Airbnb a Condo?

Yes! First, check with your homeowners’ association and local government/planning and zoning office for laws regarding short-term rentals.

Next, remove personal items, spruce up the place, and take engaging, well-lit pictures of your condo. In your listing, provide detailed rules that coincide with your management office. Finally, find an affordable renter’s insurance policy.

But there’s more to it than that. Read below as we go into more detail on each one of these items.

Pros and Cons of Putting Your Condo on Airbnb

An Airbnb condo can be a successful investment. There are plenty of people who do it and see profitable returns. However, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons before determining if it’s the right thing to do.

Pros: Condos are often low-maintenance properties. There’s usually a management company that takes care of the outside property. Condos are in good locations, sometimes in higher-density areas and near popular tourist attractions, which could increase the per-night price and your profit. Condos also often offer amenities that make your rental more attractive to guests, such as exercise rooms and pools.

Cons: The monthly maintenance fee can be high and increase significantly over time. Condo units tend to be smaller than free-standing properties. There are more restrictions imposed on you by the homeowners’ association (HOA). And finally, because you are so close to the neighbors, there’s a more likely chance that you and/or the HOA will get more complaints.

Here’s How to Put Your Condo on Airbnb

Are Airbnb Condos Profitable?

Full apartments and free-standing home rentals are usually the most profitable Airbnbs. However, condos are often less expensive and have more amenities than free-standing traditional homes, so you’ll get more bang for your buck. On-site gyms, pools, tennis courts, and other amenities will make your rental more attractive to guests.

Also, as we mentioned above, in high-demand areas, you may be able to charge a higher per night amount, which could lead to a higher profit.

You will want to consider utility costs. In a regular rental situation, the tenant usually pays the utilities. However, in an Airbnb, the (host) pays for the utilities. But, on the flip side, the HOA takes care of the outside of the property, which saves you money.

How Much Can Your Condo Make on Airbnb?

This is unpredictable unless your Airbnb condo is in a high-demand area and is rented out every night. In a regular rental situation, your tenant pays you the same amount every month. In an Airbnb, you can’t predict the amount you will get every month.

Mashvisor can help you figure out if there is a good market for your Airbnb in the area. Mashvisor will help you figure out what kind of returns your condo will provide and what you need to outperform the rental market. There is even an Airbnb profit calculator that will predict how much rental income your condo can make based on various costs associated with the condo.

What is the Difference Between Condos and Apartments on Airbnb?

For Airbnb listing purposes, there is no difference between the two property types. Airbnb lumps condos in with apartments:

  • Apartment: Typically located in a multi-unit building where other people live, including condos and lofts

This is probably because the term condominium is not used in many parts of the world. Because of this, you will need to put all the details of the extra amenities of your condo in the Airbnb listing to differentiate it from an apartment. Extra amenities could include more privacy and security features, a laundry room or facilities on-site, a pool, a gym, etc.

Is It Even Allowed To Turn My Condo Into An Airbnb?  

It’s most likely possible. However, it’s not so simple as just putting a listing up, especially for condos. There are two important factors to check…..

Check Your City’s Laws

Before you sign-up with Airbnb to host your condo, you’ll need to check into your city’s laws concerning short-term rentals. Believe it or not, some cities or municipalities have banned condos as short-term rentals.

However, in many cases, cities welcome short-term rentals (or welcome them with a few guidelines to follow). It is important to see where your city or county stands on this issue before you take the next step.

Contact your local city or government to keep yourself informed of these laws.

Check Your Condominium’s Rules

Many developments or condominiums have stipulations regarding what you can and cannot do with your condo. Even though you own your condo, you may still be subject to these rules.

More than likely, your lease agreement, homeowners association (HOA) rules, or co-op rules for tenants will clarify this issue. If not, see the management office for clarification.  

A note of caution: Even if your HOA agrees today, they might not agree tomorrow. In fact, HOAs have the right to change their rules down the road. If you don’t own your condo (but rather you pay monthly rent or pay for a timeshare), renting it as an Airbnb becomes an even tougher issue.

Please note, we here at Rentalrecon.com are not lawyers. As always, if you have questions or concerns about any legal issues or processes, please consult a lawyer licensed in your city, county, or state.

Remove Your Personal Belongings and Private Items

The last thing you want is for your treasured vase to get broken or for your favorite blanket to get stained. Plus, removing your personal belongings makes your place appear more put-together and allows your guests to feel that they’re not infringing on your personal space. So the pictures of your family reunion should probably come off the fridge.

Spruce Up and Take Quality Pictures

Engaging and welcoming pictures are the gateway to a booked Airbnb calendar. In order to draw guests to your listing, remove clutter and move furniture around to create maximum space. Strategically place bright punches of color (a red vase, a bright blue piece of artwork, a colorful pillow or blanket) throughout your home.

Take pictures in the middle of the day with all of the lights on – this creates a bright and welcoming look.  If your guest’s first impression of your condo is dark and dingy rooms, you are much less likely to secure a booking.

Providing Guest Entry To the Building

Some HOAs will allow you to hang a lock-box on your doorknob so that guests can simply type in a code to get a key. Some condominiums have building access card key systems for the main entry doors, so you may need additional card keys for guest access.

In other cases, you may need to provide your guest with a key through the front office.  Call your condo’s management office to coordinate keys and logistics for guests.

If that doesn’t work, you may try a service like KeyCafe. Upon booking, the guest receives a KeyCafe access code. Guests then go to a local coffee shop or other business that has a multi-key KeyCafe lockbox mounted inside the establishment. Enter the code, and the guest gets access to the keys.

This type of service works well for apartments or condos in urban areas or locations where lockboxes outside don’t make sense.

Condominium Amenities

Your condo may have shared use of a pool, a tennis court, a community center, a gym, or other recreational offerings. Be sure to check with your HOA to make sure your guests are allowed access to them and then provide your guests with a pass, code, bracelet, or whatever else they may need to use these amenities.

Also, provide your guests with a small instructional book or binder so that they know how to make use of these amenities. This is also a good time to review the HOA rules regarding common-use areas.

Include Clear and Detailed Rules For Your Listing

When guests book your condo through Airbnb, they automatically agree to the rules and guidelines that you’ve included in your listing. This can include rules about expected behavior, noise, pool/community area usage, pets, and smoking.

Since the guest agrees to the house rules that you specify in your listing when they book, make sure to have detailed and clear house rules that cover all HOA items.  

Provide consequences for the guest who violates these rules. For example, if pets aren’t allowed, state this clearly and explain that violation of this rule could result in the guest’s removal from the property without a refund.

Similarly, your guest should be warned that smoking in your condo could result in extra fees (even though Airbnb does not enforce this rule, it could still deter your guest from smoking). Be sure to cover yourself if your guest breaks the rules by creating clear boundaries and consequences for your guests.

Parking at Your Condominium

Some condos have parking right on the premises either with or without parking passes. If your guest needs to have a pass to park, leave one or two on the kitchen counter.

If there is no off-street parking, be sure to clarify this in your listing and give your guests pointers about where to park so that guests who have their own vehicle know what to expect.

The Competition

Check to see if any other condos in your building are being rented through Airbnb to choose a competitive price.  Choose a nightly price at the upper end of the competitive price range.

That way, once the “low-hanging fruit” is booked up, you can charge more and maintain less turnover per month. The benefit is less wear-and-tear on your condo since fewer people are staying there.

Research Your Short-Term Rental Insurance Options

Renting out your condo as a short-term rental is a business venture, and you’ll need insurance. Be careful though, as your standard homeowner’s insurance likely has a “business pursuits exclusion,” meaning that they will not cover damages if your condo is used as an Airbnb. You do have options, though. Check out our other article on insurance HERE. This content was originally written on rentalrecon.com.

How to Join Airbnb as a Host

  • Go to airbnb.com and click “Sign Up.” There are a couple of different ways you can create an account, including using your Facebook account, Google account, or simply by creating an account using your email address.
  • It’s free and you don’t have to publish (list) your condo until you’re completely ready, so don’t worry. Simply answer some basic questions about your condo.
  • After you’ve described your place, you’ll have the ability to add photos and describe your place in writing.  
  • Lastly, Airbnb will walk you through booking settings, your calendar, and your pricing options. After this step, you’ll be ready to list your condo!

What if I don’t own my condo?  Can I still rent it out as a short-term rental?

In many cases, renting out a condo that you don’t own would be in violation of your lease of homeowners association (HOA) rules. In addition, your landlord takes a huge risk in allowing you to rent out the space, which could lead to your eviction if things went awry (and no one wants that!).

Resist the urge to keep your landlord in the dark about this issue. Honesty is always the best approach! You may even have a shot at convincing your landlord to allow you to host (provided that hosting a condo is legal in your area). Try to see things from your landlord’s perspective before you attempt a conversation with him/her:

  • If you have a long-term lease (6 months or more), renting to you is low-risk. However, if you host a condo on Airbnb, that means that strangers (who will come and go and may not respect their surroundings) will be inhabiting your landlord’s condo. This is high-risk, and your landlord probably got into the business of renting to long-term tenants because they wanted to avoid high-risk business ventures. Understand that you would make all the money, but your landlord would assume all of the risks.  
  • Landlords, in many cases, are required by law to purchase renter’s insurance. If there were any damages to the condo while it was being rented to vacationers, your landlord would assume that cost.
  • Bad guests do exist. Although Airbnb allows you to set parameters on guest age and behavior, you want to be prepared for any situation (damages, crime, neighbor disturbances). If your landlord ends up having to deal with these issues, it could affect you and your long-term lease.

If you’ve considered the landlord’s perspective, but you still want to discuss the possibility of renting out your condo with him/her, just be honest and see what he/she thinks about the idea.

Open up a friendly dialogue, and offer incentives that would make your landlord consider a higher risk for a greater reward (a cut of the profit, an offer to increase your rent, or extend your lease).

Overall, honesty is the best policy. If you make sure you’re taking the high road in all of your dealings, you’re likely to have a longer and more stable renting experience.

Sign up on Airbnb now to get $40 off your hosting fees!

Ryan Drew- Contributor
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Ryan Drew- Contributor

I'm an Airbnb Superhost sharing my Airbnb journey and tips that I've learned along the way.

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