Short-Term Housing Rentals Profitable, Sketchy, Scary

Posted August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized by Arthur Buono

Would you like to earn some extra coin while you’re out of town and your place is empty? Have you got a spare house or condo and want to max your rental income? Transient or short term rentals brokered by online services can net you some change, but also possibly a world of hurt.

  • Short-term lodging rentals surging with help of online start-ups
  • Destruction of apartment put focus on business
  • Supplying short term-lodging a licensed, taxable business in most places
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Offering Your Digs for Lodging Carries Personal, Legal Risks


Ask a San Francisco resident who let her place for a couple of days via Airbnb. She returned to find it ransacked, presumably by the renter. This helped spotlight a practice that may be illegal where you live. Not ransacking the joint, which is obviously illegal. Renting it in violation of city ordinances regulating the hospitality industry.

When you rent your pad for a couple of days at a time, you’re effectively and legally operating as a hotel. You haven’t got a license and you’re not collecting and remitting the occupancy tax, so you’re breaking the law. Governments haven’t had much time to go after the onesy and twosy violators, but now that an industry has sprung up to facilitate it, governments are taking notice.

The rental space is heating up, whether it’s long-term occupancy for the increasing number of people who can’t buy a home or don’t want to, or short-term deals for owners who want and need to make money in a down economy. Either way, being a landlord or an innkeeper comes with legal obligations (and ransacking risks) you probably haven’t thought of – but a real estate lawyer has.

Related Apps for Your Smartphone*

Zillow – Provides real estate data on all homes in the US. Free.
PadMapper – Find apartments for rent. Free
TripIt – Travel-planning application. Free.

*Please note that these apps are for informational purposes only, and neither LexisNexis nor endorses these apps or accepts liability for their use.

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