Wellington Propertyscouts

Renters made $1568 from Airbnb deal, pinged $1300 for breaching rental agreement - 6th Mar 2017

Tenants who put their homes on Airbnb will breach their tenancy agreements.
Planning to make a quick buck renting your place to Adele fans this month? Or visiting rugby crowds later in the year? Think again.
The Tenancy Tribunal has ruled that sub-letting a rental property on Airbnb is in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act.
It found in favour of Wellington-based property manager Keith Powell, that his two tenants had breached both the Residential Tenancies Act and the Tenancy Agreement for sub-leasing the property via Airbnb.
But while the couple made $1568 from hosting guests, the Tribunal only awarded $1000 to the property owners for "mental distress", and exemplary damages of $300 as a deterrent from doing it in the future. 
Powell, director of Nice Place Property Management, said it was not enough.
"If tenants are knowingly putting the accommodation in the hands of groups that have not signed the Tenancy Agreement, and making a profit, then I don't think a $300 fine is going to stop anyone. At the very least they should be required to pay the revenue back they made from Airbnb," he said

The owners of the property were travelling and returned immediately upon learning their fully furnished home had played host to more than seven different groups. Powell said they were "quite over-wrought" thinking that people had been living in their home that their property manager had not had the opportunity to vet and approve on their behalf.

"It was absolutely heart-breaking to think that people could be so uncaring and disrespectful of us and our things. It took me 10 days to get our home back as it was when we left it," said the owner of the property who would prefer to remain anonymous.

The tenants were in a fixed-term lease for four months, but had tried to get out of their lease early.

"Fixed-term guarantees the property owners income for a fixed period of time, and guarantees the tenants a place to live. Decisions are made based on those guarantees, so no, we aren't able to let tenants out of their lease early because they've found a home. I get they were creative, but they broke the law and breached the agreement," said Powell.

Property management expert David Faulkner from RealiQ said there are serious insurance implications for landlords that aren't aware their properties are on Airbnb.

"If serious damage does occur on the premises, insurance companies may not cover the damage as the property is not being used as a principal place of residence by the tenants," he said.

"The likelihood is that the liability would fall back on the tenant as they intentionally breached their Tenancy Agreement by subletting without the consent of the landlord."
For full article - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/90095618/airbnb-deal-breached-rental-agreement

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