Airbnb is often described as a great little earner for people with an underused apartment or a spare room in their house. Unfortunately, more and more these days neighbours are bearing the brunt of this.
Stories now abound online of all night parties, fights, constant loud noises, garbage and mess thrown over fences or left in hallways, and a few Airbnb users even urinating in the foyers and common areas of apartment blocks. Good heavens!
Airbnb country manager Sam McDonagh said hosts are encouraged to “think carefully” about their responsibilities. Mr McDonagh stated that: “All guests, hosts, and listings must adhere to our carefully designed Community Standards, and before listing their spaces, hosts should think carefully about their responsibilities and ensure they are in compliance with all local rules and regulations”.
Well that sounds very nice Sam but good little earners also shouldn’t be allowed to drive neighbours crazy. Let’s take a look at your legal rights when an Airbnb user turns up and shows no respect.
CHECK TO SEE IF THE AIRBNB FLAT HAS FOLLOWED THE RULES
If you live in a flat and find your “neighbours” have suddenly become an endless stream of overnight tourists, it may pay to take a look at the body corporate rules for your block to see whether short term accommodation is actually allowed in your building. Even if you’re a humble tenant you can still take a peek at the rules.
If it is allowed in the rules, which is often the case, it may be subject to an application by the apartment owner to the body corporate.
However, in 2017, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that strata owners could not pass bylaws banning short-term rentals on Airbnb. In that case, an Airbnb host’s neighbours complained about guests using the communal washing machine and deck area, and tried to pass a bylaw banning such rentals in the Woollahra apartment block.
Airbnbers in posh Woollahra? How appalling!
So find out what the situation is in your neck of the woods. If the body corp does have rules see if the owner has gone through ‘due process’ to run Airbnb in their premises. If not, report the owner to the Body Corporate. Even though this may not have an immediate result, it will alert all the other owners of the breach and consequently more eyes will be focused on potential bad behaviour by Airbnb guests. Guests hate that sort of stuff and may also leave a bad review about the property …and those dreadful stickybeak neighbours!!
IS YOUR TENANT RUNNING AN AIRBNB?
For owners who believe they have rented their premises to legitimate tenants but find those tenants are actually sub-letting the place for Airbnb profits if you don’t have a clause in the lease saying tenants can’t sub-let you won’t have much of a leg to stand on. Prior to leasing, it’s best to make the clause state that all forms of subletting is not allowed, because simply mentioning Airbnb by name may not be enough for a tenant to not sublet. They may go through a service like Stayz.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) recently ruled that a tenant was granting a license rather than a lease to their Airbnb guests. The landlord appealed and the case went before the Supreme Court. The court overturned the decision, stating that the tenants were sub-leasing the property rather than licensing it. Also if you’re getting peed off by Airbnb guests you should also take a look at your local zoning laws. In many areas, short-term holiday rentals are regulated. Other councils permit holiday rentals, but the owner or occupier must first get planning approval.
So find out whether the Airbnb property has adhered to the zoning regulations.
NOISY AIRBNB GUESTS
The same rules apply to Airbnb guests as also apply to neighbours. Your local council can tip you off on the specific noise restrictions that apply and obviously if it’s getting late in the evening and the noise is out of hand you should call the police.
Naturally, the Eagle has more tips on how to deal with noisy neighbours HERE and especially HERE
It’s also helpful to know that Airbnb also has a complaint process if those pesky part time tourists are driving you nuts. You can file a complaint directly with Airbnb HERE.
Let’s just say that it can be the death knell for an Airbnb host to have their neighbours regularly complaining about them to Airbnb.
WHAT AIRBNB EXPECTS OFF HOSTS AND THEIR NEIGHBOURS
Airbnb claim they take a host’s responsibility to be mindful of their neighbours seriously. They mention the following guidelines on how to be a good host:
Building Rules: Ensure you relay your building’s common area rules to your guest. You may want to even notify your neighbours that you will have guests, and remind guests not to bother your neighbours (e.g., don’t knock on their door or buzz them to let you in).
Smoking: If you don’t allow smoking, we suggest posting signs to remind guests. If you do allow smoking, ensure you have ashtrays available in designated areas. Parking: Ensure you relay parking rules for your building and neighbourhood to your guest.
Noise: Remind guests about keeping noise down. You may want to consider whether you allow babies, pets, or parties. Develop a policy about guests inviting other people over, and ensure your guests are clear about your ‘party policy.’
Pets: If you allow pets, ensure guests are educated about things like local parks and local customs (e.g., cleaning up after your dog). Have a backup plan in case a guest’s pet upsets the neighbours (such as the number of a nearby pet hotel).
Well this all sounds fine and dandy but the word I am getting from neighbours Australia wide is that it doesn’t always go according to Airbnb’s plan. If that is the case, you should contact Airbnb directly HERE so they can deal with the hosts.
Now I’d love to go on but I’ve listed my broom closet on Airbnb and I have 6 backpackers turning up at any moment for a taste of city apartment living.