Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb breaching lease

TENANTS are advertising their rental properties on Airbnb and breaching their tenancy agreement by doing so.

Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA) CEO Darren Barlow said there are sub-letting rules that must be followed and if they're not, it would be considered a breach of the tenancy agreement.

"Tenants must get permission in writing from the owner or property manager before sub-letting a rental property.

"Owners/property managers have the right to know and approve of all people living in the rental property.

"If the tenant sub-lets a property without written permission from the owner, it would be considered a breach of the tenancy agreement and the owner/property manager can issue a notice to remedy breach, allowing the tenant seven days to remedy the breach.

"If the issue is not resolved after this time, the owner/property manager can issue the tenant with a notice to leave, giving the tenant 14 days to leave the property," Mr Barlow said.

A landlord in Victoria recently won the right to evict her tenants after they rented out her property on Airbnb.

The landmark ruling found the tenants breached their lease but only because they sub-let entire property through, not just a single room.

Airbnb recommend hosts read their lease agreement and check with their landlords before posting a rental property to make sure there is no prohibition against sub-letting or any other restriction against hosting.

A Queensland property owner, who asked not to be named, said he recently discovered his tenants advertising his property on Airbnb.

"I contacted my real estate immediately. They then got in touch with their training consultants and the tenants were issued with a notice to remedy breach."

In the notice to remedy breach, the tenants were advised they were breaching the following sections of their lease agreement:

Division 6 rights and obligation concerning the premises during tenancy
Subdivision 1 occupation and use of premises

21 Tenant's use of premises 

(1) The tenant may use the premises only as a place of residence or mainly as a place of residence or for another use allowed under a special term.

(2) The tenant must not -

(a) use the premises for an illegal purpose

(c) interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of a neighbour of the tenant

23 Number of occupants allowed

No more than the number of persons stated in this agreement for item 15 may reside at the premises.

Addendum B - Special Terms

3 During Occupancy

(1) The tenant agrees that only the persons nominated in Addendum A - Additional Items - Item (C) or as specified on the Application for Tenancy... Approval must be sought from the lessor / lessor's agent for any other persons to reside on the premises during the tenancy.

6 Insurance/Indemnity

(1) The tenant will not by act or omission do anything which would cause any increase in the premium of any insurance the lessor may have over the premises (or their contents) or cause such insurance policy to be invalidated.

(3) The Tenant may not grant other person's a licence to occupy or use the whole or part of the premises for the Tenant's commercial gain, whether by written or verbal agreement with the other person/s, without the Landlord's consent having been first obtained. The Landlord must act reasonably.

Airbnb provides Host Protection Insurance, which acts as primary insurance and "provides liability coverage to hosts and, where applicable, their landlords, subject to certain conditions, limitations, and exclusions".

But again, they recommend hosts check how this policy interacts with any other insurances such as tenancy insurance because some "policies protect homeowners and renters from certain lawsuits that result from injury to a visitor", while others do not. 

Research by IAG found that one in two Airbnb or Stayz hosts incorrectly believed, or were unsure as to the extent their existing home insurance policy covered them in the sharing economy.

Topics:  airbnb insurance property tenant

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