It is no longer a secret, the fact that the prices for vocational rental, alongside other short term rentals, are now astronomical. Because Houston is a tourist site, attracting many tourists from around the world, business owners have turned the tables in their favor. Hotels are not only expensive but also limited, thanks to the influx of tourist in the city. Travelers may have to resort to using services like the Airbnb or other related rental services. Interestingly, they give you more of an authentic experience than you would get at a hotel.
For those who live in Houston , the idea of becoming an Airbnb host might seem silly, but it would be best if you took advantage of this opportunity. Before you become an Airbnb host, you might need to look at the strict laws governing the business. You would also want to weigh the pros and cons of the market, so you know your strength. When you cover all these ends, then you avoid potential penalties that may cost you bitterly.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN AIRBNB HOST?
The idea of being an Airbnb host is one that comes with great benefits and costs. Let us take a look at some of the benefits.
- It is a source of additional income
One of the benefits of being a host is extra income. Renting out that extra space in your home can give you some extra cash, aside from your main stream of income. This extra cash can come in handy in offsetting some of your debts and even getting some things done around your home. It is a better alternative to applying for a second job, or even asking for more hours at your present job.
- It is flexible and versatile
As an Airbnb host, you have the opportunity of offering flexible and customized services. You can rent out your space only during peak seasons of the year, or rent out the room all year round. You’re free to decide your time of service, as an Airbnb host.
- You get to meet new people
Meeting new people can be exciting for some person. If you love meeting new people daily, then you might enjoy being an Airbnb host. Not only will you host these guests in your home, but you could also be their personal “tour guide.” You could offer great recommendations regarding the best places in the city. Lots of the Airbnb hosts find this experience very rewarding.
WHAT ARE THE SETBACKS YOU MIGHT FACE WHILE BEING AN AIRBNB HOST?
Like I said earlier, you may face some challenges while being an Airbnb host, and here are some of them;
- The income may vary from one renter to another
If you’re looking for a side job, where you can have a predictable income, even for one week (or a month), then you might want to consider other options. Airbnb hosting income is very unpredictable and usually, vary. The demands for the rentals usual fluctuate, which in turn affects the profits of the Airbnb host.
- Finding someone to rent your space is time-consuming
It is time wasting just finding renter; it is even more so when you try to negotiate with them on the price. You have to be ready to answer questions about your rentals. Also, when you have secured a renter for your room, you’d have to follow-up on the renters. You’ll need to provide them with information and updates on the space. Even when the guest stay over, you’d still need to be available to answer some questions. Don’t also forget the renter’s insurance coverage.
- Some renters aren’t usually the best of guests
There is a considerable risk letting some strangers into your home when you can’t vouch for their character. Even if they are paying to stay, you might need to be very careful who you choose to be your guest. Not all your guest would be courteous enough to clean after they eat. They would want to you do it yourself.
- Strict regulations in some cities
In cities like Houston , many laws make Airbnb hosting complicated. You’d have to consider all these laws and still decide if you would want to continue in the business of Airbnb hosting.
HOSTED VS. “UNHOSTED” RENTAL
If you’re in Houston and you’re looking for a rental, the first thing you should find out is the regulations regarding such rentals. This section deals mainly with those who live in a multiple-dwelling unit (and as such, the multiple dwelling law, MDL, should be looked at). The multiple-dwelling unit is a building with three (sometimes more) separate rental units.
- Hosted Airbnb Rentals in Houston
Under this kind of Airbnb rental arrangement, the owner of the home is always present during the stay of the guest. Renting out your condo would mean that you’re going to be present all through the visit of the guest. You’ll act as a host. Rentals of this nature have a limited duration of time for it to last. During this time, the guest will have access to all the areas of the unit.
- “Unhosted Airbnb Rental in Houston
Under the multiple dwelling law, it prohibits an “unhosted” rental of less than 30 days. This law is applicable for “Class A Dwelling” – these are building that has more up to three or more units.
SINGLE FAMILY HOMES AND CONDOMINIUMS
If you’re an owner of a condominium and you planning on becoming an Airbnb host, you’d have to check with the state laws. If it a “Class A building,” the rule regarding such buildings applies. Also, your condo’s HOA may contain some bylaws, that may make it difficult for you to be a host. It follows, therefore, that you would have to be very thorough in your findings as a host.
For single-family homes in New York, you’re not going to be affecting by the MDL. You may, however, be restricted to some zoning laws, which have a way of taunting your plans of being a host. For instance, you may need to meet some building codes, thus meeting the legal requirement of a hosting house. To find out your zoning restriction, all you have to do is search your Certificate of Occupancy.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RENT-STABILIZED BUILDING
For persons who live in a rent-stabilized unit, bear in mind that there might be more restrictions, particularly with the amount you should charge as rent. There are more discouragements in becoming an Airbnb host for those who live in rent-stabilized, compared to other buildings. Even where the law restricts the Airbnb host, the landlords still pose some level of encumbrance on the Airbnb hosting. Rent-stabilized units, like the co-op, do not usually have any specific rules with regards to short-term leasing. So it may not be a problem with the law, being an Airbnb host. The issues will be your landlord and other tenants who may feel uncomfortable with non-residents moving in and out of the building.
Also, you should note that for those in the rent-stabilized unit, you cannot legally make a profit with Airbnb hosting. What is ideal would be to get someone who you can share the payment of rent. Someone willing to live with you on a longer-term basis.
REASONS FOR LAW RESTRICTIONS AND REGULATIONS
There are more than a handful of restrictions put in place by the law, that limit the Airbnb hosting opportunity. These laws make it a tad difficult in becoming an Airbnb host, particularly in Houston . These laws, however, have reasons for being in place. First of all, the original idea behind Airbnb is that it should be a home-sharing service. The idea of it being a platform for commercial investors is a relatively new idea. During the, however, more and more commercial investors are becoming more involved in the Airbnb hosting gig. Because of this involvement, New Yorkers would have had a tremendous impact on the neighborhood. This impact was actualized through gentrification and the increase in prices.
Another reason for these restrictions is that it helps the Houston economy to grow. This growth comes as a result of allowing residents of the city to improve the income of the city and preventing the surge of hotel prices. Whatever the reasons, one thing is sure, everyone is under the same law in Houston , and as such, the restrictions come in handy. Any act of disregard towards these laws will be met with severe fines and penalties.
POSSIBLE PENALTIES AND FINES FOR THOSE INDULGING IN ILLEGAL RENTING IN Houston
The fines and penalties for renting out a building in Houston , vary greatly. For instance, if you violate the MDL, the fine payable is up to $2,500 daily. Also, in New York, as of October 2016, it is illegal to illegal rental. The fine, ranging from $1000-$7000 (depending on the gravity of the offense and the numbers of violation) will be imposed on the offenders. Airbnb may even be charged a fine for letting you advertise on their site.
Their fines are pretty steep, but there’s good news. If you’re keeping up with the laws in Houston (in regards to the Airbnb rental and other associated rentals, you’re good. Just be sure to follow all the regulations, and you’d have nothing to worry.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR HOUSTON AIRBNB RENTALS?
When you decide to become an Airbnb host in Houston , there are a few tips you might need to know. These tips will help you stay on top of your game and enables you to get the best experience from the Airbnb rentals. Here are some suggestions for you;
- Be updated on the changing Airbnb hosting laws
First of all, one of the things you should always do is to be updated on the rules. Existing laws change and should know of these changes. Right now, the city is undergoing processes to pass a bill that requires that the Airbnb hosts list their rentals addresses (active ones) on the Airbnb platform. The idea behind this law is that they’re trying to prevent commercial investors from making a profit on the platform. Although Airbnb is fighting this law (on the grounds of violation against free speech), but knowing more, you’d need to be up to date. Being up to date will help you prevent violations.
- Hire a professional cleaning service
A clean rental would ensure more patronage. It also creates a good impression in the minds of your guest about you, encouraging them to give you a useful review. Good reviews make you get more renters without having to look them up. Plus, it would drive up your income, as more renters, more pay. A local cleaning store would do the trick, make sure they know their trade.
- Have a maintenance plan
Other than just hiring a cleaning service, it would be nice to have a maintenance plan. Have a handy-man or a contractor around that can take care of the repairs when you need to. Someone that gets the job done quickly. If the pipe has an issue, then you should have someone fix it as soon as possible, it doesn’t cause any inconvenience to your renters.
- Have a fixed charging rate
Other than just knowing how much to charge your renter, it is good to have a set amount chargeable. Luckily, Airbnb allows you to charge any amount, but before you fix your price, some things would need to be considered. You can look at the cost other similar rentals are offering and use it to determine your rate. Also, consider the cleaning and other maintenance when fixing your price.
- Have clear rules for your house
To avoid issues with your guest, the ideal thing to do would be to write down “house rules.” Make it clear, so they understand. The policies should include (but not limited to); children, pets, noise (or quiet hour), and other related things. Issue a copy to all your guests before they move in, and be sure to answer all inquiries about the rules.
Being an Airbnb host is so much fun if you know what you’re doing. It is not the main business; it is a side gig, more supplementary than it is substantial. Be sure to always stay on top of things when in this line of trade so you can control your surroundings.
If you need a great service Airbnb cleaning service in Houston then give Ready Set Maids a call!