Risk of Renting Your Property Via Airbnb - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Monday, 04 September 2017

Risk of Renting Your Property Via Airbnb

#AskJoshuaHimel

The ability to earn extra money by renting all or a portion of your home, apartment or condominium through a simple, app-based process is the lure attracting many property owners and property renters to Airbnb. The company claims more than 627,000 people have used its service since it began operating in Canada in 2009 with Ontario being one of the two most popular provinces. People who have listed their properties with the service or who might be thinking of it should consider some of the risks associated with renting your property through Airbnb.

How an Airbnb rental works

Airbnb promotes itself as a community marketplace where hosts can list properties for rent, and guests can search for low-cost alternatives to hotels and motels. Properties run the gamut from a spare bedroom in a host’s home to condominiums, houses and even yachts. Accessing the website is free to hosts and guests after they register and create an account.

The company charges guests a service fee, which is a percentage of their total rental payment. Hosts pay a service fee to the company, which is also a percentage of the cost of the rental. The process is simple and is handled from start to finish through the website. There are, however, legal issues that can arise for hosts.

Ontario Residential Tenancies Act

If you rent an apartment or a condominium and decide to rent all or part of it on Airbnb, the rent you charge could put you in violation of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act. As a tenant, you are prohibited under the law from receiving more from Airbnb guests than you ae paying each month to your landlord. For example, if the rent you pay to your landlord is $1,000 a month, charging $75 a day on Airbnb could result in you receiving more than your rent payment over the course of a month and give the landlord the right to evict you.

The amount of money someone can make by renting their property for short-term occupancy could persuade some landlords to forego conventional monthly rentals and list their properties on Airbnb. Some cities, including Toronto, are considering placing restrictions on such practices to prevent this practice. The proposal in Toronto would limit the ability of Airbnb hosts to list properties that are not their principal residence.

Liability insurance coverage could be at risk

Listing a property on Airbnb and renting it to someone can create insurance coverage issues. A standard home insurance policy is intended for property owned and occupied as the principal residence of the insured. If all or a portion of the property is being used to generate income through short-term rental on Airbnb, it might raise coverage issues in the event someone is injured and makes a claim for compensation against the host. A property owner might discover that his or her insurance policy does not offer coverage if the property is used for what is essentially a commercial purpose unless additional insurance is taken out.

If you live in a condominium and intend to list it on Airbnb, it might be a good idea to look at your bylaws and regulations. Renting all or part of your condominium could violate those regulations and result in fines from the condominium owners association.

Speak to our lawyers when problems arise

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have the knowledge, skills and experience to advise and represent you on all liability issues, including injuries occurring on an Airbnb rental. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Our consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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