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How to Convince Landlords to Let you Airbnb

How to Convince Landlords to Let you Airbnb

Since Airbnb was founded in 2008, it has gained a steady following as a popular rental option for short-term rentals and has grown into an empire on a global scale. Real estate has become so democratized that anyone with a spare bedroom can make some extra money renting out their space. Worldwide, millions of homeowners and property owners have joined the trend.

At present, there are at least 150 million Airbnb guests and users in nearly 8 million properties listed on Airbnb that are run by 4 million hosts. In just 12 short years, Airbnb has become a billion-dollar industry with millions benefiting from it.

With stats like that, it comes as no surprise that serious property investors, property managers, and hosts who are looking at earning a passive income, are setting their sights on rental properties to turn them into successful Airbnb properties.

In what ways can you choose to host on Airbnb?

Hosting connects you to the world. Perhaps you have an idea for an unforgettable experience, or maybe you have the space to offer a special place or even a spare room. In either case, Airbnb provides a marketplace in which you can choose your accommodations to let out to guests. Here are a few options you can choose from

Host a place to stay

How you host is up to you. You can list an entire home, a room, or any space available to you. You might want to greet your guests on-site, or offer self-check-in.

Host an experience

Airbnb Experiences bring people together— whether it’s classes, tours, concerts, or other activities. Airbnb looks for hosts who can provide expertise, insider access, and connection. It might be sharing your local cuisine over Zoom, or taking guests to your local beach for a surf lesson.

Host an online experience

Got a great idea for an astrology reading, sommelier-led wine tasting, or drag bingo? Broadcast it right from your living room over Zoom. And don’t forget to follow these additional requirements.

One of the many popular and versatile forms of investing in Airbnb is rental arbitrage or letting out a spare space or room in your already rented property.

What Is Airbnb Rental Arbitrage?

Airbnb rental arbitrage is the practice of renting a property or multiple properties and then subletting them on short-rental platforms such as Airbnb.

How to Convince Landlords to Let you Airbnb

Prep to Pitch to the Landlord

In order to successfully use Airbnb rental arbitrage or sublet your spare room as an Airbnb - one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome is convincing the landlord/s to allow you to sublet or use it for short term rentals such as Airbnb. Here are a few points you need to know prior to talking to your landlord.

1. Get Familiar with the Rules and Regulations

Understand what contracts and rules apply to you before you start hosting. These include leases, condominium board or co-op rules, homeowner association rules, or rules established by tenant associations. Be sure to read any rules about guests or subletting, and ask your landlord if you have any questions.

It is your responsibility to understand and abide by these rules before deciding on listing your space.

Read Your Lease or Rental Agreement

Read your lease. In the lease, it probably states: "The tenant shall not sublet all or any part of the premises without the landlord's written consent." "Sublease" means you rent out the entire apartment-whether temporarily or permanently. In the event of a violation of this provision, or a lease clause limiting guests' stays, your landlord will be able to evict you.

__Side Note: __

If you've already listed your space, review these rules and other laws in your city or state to make sure you're in compliance.

2. Understanding the Perspective of a Landlord

In order to understand the landlord's point of view, you must first understand his perspective. It is not unusual for people to rent their homes via Airbnb. This is a great way for people to make money. However, in this situation, you do not own the property.

First, you need to understand how the average landlord views his investment property. Investing in long-term rental properties is considered low risk and a good source of income over time. It is also important to consider all the reasons why your landlord decided to rent long-term.

  • For the term of their tenants' leases, they will receive the same amount of money each month from the property.

  • Most landlords see their properties as a long-term, fixed income stream, so there's no reason to invest more energy and time into them. It can often be considered a waste of time for them to spend more time on the rental.

  • An absolute worst-case scenario for a landlord would be property damage or eviction of a tenant. Nonetheless, tenants can be replaced and property damage can be covered by insurance. This is a low-risk investment.

Now, reverse the roles and imagine that you are the owner of this property. You have put a lot of effort into getting it ready to lease and now you’ve found an interested tenant but the tenant to be is requesting to sublet the property and let strangers in and out of their space for their own profit. They just went from a safe and low-risk property to a very high-risk property.

But this conversation can be turned into a positive one if you have a proper game plan and approach the landlord with a solid business-minded plan. You can calm the shock of your request with positive and solid reasons to list it as an Airbnb.

How to Convince Landlords to Let you Airbnb

A Constructive Conversation is the Key to Convincing

Remember, what you're about to discuss with your landlord is a form of negotiation. Take a moment to consider your stance as a tenant before you start the discussion.

__Here is a Quick Question guide to help you prep for the convo. __

  1. What is your relationship with your landlord?
  2. How long have you been a tenant of this particular landlord?
  3. Does the landlord know about Airbnb and how it works?
  4. What is the rental market like in the particular city/state/neighborhood?
  5. Does your landlord own many other properties?
  6. Is your landlord a broad-minded person open to new ideas?
  7. How fast can your landlord replace you with a new tenant?

Bearing these questions in mind - and weighing out the pros and cons of the probable answers you will be ready to have this dialog with your landlord.

1. Engage in a Hearty Conversation

This is a form of negotiation, so you need to approach it tactfully as a healthy conversation, not as a business pitch. Engage them in a discussion and ask their opinions, thoughts, and concerns.

2. Meet them in Person

Though it may not always be possible, try your best to have this conversation in person. Phone calls and emails don't often convey nonverbal signals. You can question your landlord about his or her behavior if what you say makes him or her look angry. This may lead you to uncover an objection you hadn't anticipated.

3. Prepare for the meeting with information in hand

Present your proposal with as much transparency as possible. Explain the Airbnb business model and how you plan to conduct your business. Have a plan to explain how you will mitigate potential risks that may arise and what reassurance you can provide in order to ensure the safety of the property if your landlord is averse to potential risks

4. Listen and be open to suggestions from your landlord too!

To begin, you may want to ask about their opinions on Airbnb. Using this method, you can find out what they know, what misconceptions they need to dispel or what remedies you can apply to any problems they anticipate.

5. Be Sincere

Describe your plans honestly and upfront. Assume that there are some risks, but that you're willing to cooperate, so this is a win-win situation for both of you. Being dishonest will damage the goodwill you've built and could lead to their withdrawal of consent.

How to Deal with Common Objections from your Landlord?

You hopefully learn why the landlord isn't comfortable letting you sublet the property during the conversation. Here are some common objections and how to overcome them.

Legal Situation and Regulations

“Are these activities legal in my city or location of the property?"

At this point of discussion based on the prior research, you already have the answer to this question. If there are no legal restrictions you can ease the landlord’s mind on this question and scratch it off the list.


“The risk is too high since the current insurance policy does not cover damages etc.”

Let your landlord know how Airbnb is a community built on trust, with trust and safety resources like the $1,000,000 Host Guarantee and the $1,000,000 Host Protection Policy.

You can take your additional rental insurance and include the clause in the contract that you are responsible for any damages. Different insurance offers are available depending on the market. A larger security deposit can also be negotiated.

Increased Depreciation and Risk of Damage to the Property

“Increased guests equate to faster depreciation and an increased risk of damage.”

The majority of your guests are either on vacation with their families or on business trips, so they are rarely in the building. The property is constantly cleaned before and after each stay. Taking care of the property is quite extensive since if not, you risk getting bad reviews. All minor damages will be fixed to avoid negatively impacting the business.

Bad Guests

"Possibility of bad behaving, loud people on the property that may even harass the neighbors or steal. “

You can assure your landlord that 99% of the guests are reasonable and trustworthy. Possible solutions would be to implement guest screening, and only accept guests with a profile that fits your standards. Guests will also have to accept your strict house rules before they book. You can share those rules with the landlord to be as transparent as possible.

In general, most of the guests are on business trips or vacation, which means they are not usually in the property much. Low-risk guests rarely cause problems and don't pose a threat. As an alternative, if this doesn't work, you can offer to host only specific groups like families, business travelers, digital nomads, etc. As an alternative, if you plan only to rent a room, you can tell your landlord that you will be at the premises while the guest stays there.

How to Convince Landlords to Let you Airbnb

What’s in it for the Landlord?

The above objections would cover almost 90% of the questions any landlord would generally ask. Having said that - the probable last question would be what’s in it for the landlord?

You can offer to share profits and give them a percentage of each booking, which would yield them a higher rent.

Other ways you can help to make the landlord gain more benefits from agreeing:

  • Offer to pre-pay a few months rent upfront
  • Offer to purchase your own vacation rental insurance
  • Amend your rental contract to offer coverage for certain damages yourself
  • Increase the size of your security deposit
  • Offer to extend your lease
  • Create Solid Rules that Work for All.
  • Collaborating with your landlord to set guidelines about when and how you’ll host guests, will make them feel part of the process.

To show your landlord you’re a responsible host and help them feel more comfortable:

  • Agree on how often you’ll be hosting guests in their space
  • Set a limit for the number of guests allowed to stay at one time
  • Set House rules: No events, parties, pets, extra guests, or shoes in the house
  • Share your home and building rules with each guest. Show your landlord your listing page that details your house rules and how guests will behave.
  • Let them know about the review system and how guests are on their best behavior
  • Give your guests emergency phone numbers and a map of emergency exits and evacuation routes

Keep Everyone Informed!

You can show your commitment to being a responsible host by ensuring you will take the necessary steps for neighbors to be comfortable with your hosting on Airbnb. This way, if they can feel more in control, it will be much easier for them to agree if they have a say in the matter.

To inform your landlord when you receive reservations to avoid any surprises. They may feel more comfortable with you hosting guests if they know when they can expect them. You can also share your guests' names or Airbnb profiles as a co-host with your landlord so that they know who will be staying in the unit.

Get Legal Counsel as The Last Resort!

You can try another approach if the landlord isn't convinced. Contracts, insurance, and tenant rights are typically handled by a landlord's lawyer. Speak to their legal counsel. Make sure they understand the benefits of your proposal. Lawyers are legally obligated to represent their clients' interests. If you get a landlord's legal counsel to support your idea, landlords will find it much more difficult to turn you down.

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!