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How to Host Legally in California

Are you up-to-speed with the regulations for short term rental properties? Airbnb has gotten some attention from the press recently surrounding legal issues for hosts in the vacation rental market. You may have heard about hosts in New York and Paris facing legal challenges over their right to rent their property through Airbnb. Does the same apply in California? Here are some pointers to keep in mind so your California rental stays ahead of the game.

1.Check your lease
Check the lease on your property, or your condo association rules and regulations. Some properties will specify that you are not allowed to sublet the apartment or rent it out.

2.Check Local Laws
Remember - if you live in California, the laws applying to New York will not be applicable. Your local zoning laws may affect whether you can charge money for renting out your property – for example, in some purely residential areas of Los Angeles new laws prohibit short term rentals. Laws in this area are complicated and in many cases even the lawmakers themselves are not certain of the situation when it comes to Airbnb rentals. Airbnb says: “Before making the decision to become an Airbnb host, it is important to know in depth the applicable law works in your city…. These laws can be confusing. Sometimes, even the city officials themselves have difficulty explaining them. We are working closely with many governments in various parts of the world to help make these laws more clear, so that it is easy for anyone to understand. For now, we ask that you check local laws before posting your ad on Airbnb. By accepting our Terms and Conditions and activate your ad, you agree to comply with laws and regulations.”

3.Check with your neighbors
Consider how you can make the experience of renting your property less stressful and more enjoyable not just for your guests but for your neighbors too. If your neighbors have concerns, do everything you can to help them feel better about the situation – being open with the neighbors helps a great deal towards maintaining a problem-free vacation rental through Airbnb.

4.Communicate clearly with guests
Let them know that you have the legal right to rent your property – you can write something in the description that shows you have considered the issue and have taken care of the legal side. This distinguishes your property from others in the same area and could be a deal-breaker for many guests.Answer any questions regarding the legal situation surrounding your property openly and efficiently. You will put guests’ minds at rest and make it clear that you are a responsible host.

Airbnb remains a highly recommended service offering you the opportunity to make money from your property on a short-term basis. As always, preparation and a little thought will help you make the most of your rental property and stay ahead of any regulations concerning your apartment or house.

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