While Airbnb is recognized as one of the top resources for personal short-term vacation rentals, there is also a whole market of long-term renters who are now finding homes through the site. According to Bloomberg Technology, Airbnb is considering an expansion into the long-term rental business and has a consultant firm researching the market to see if it's a viable business for them.
Why Consider Airbnb for a Long-Term Rental
Some of the pros of renting on Airbnb for long-term accommodations include:
- There is typically no lease agreement.
- Payments are made through the Airbnb website, so they are more easily tracked.
- Utilities are often included in the entire rental price.
- Enjoy better locations, often in more desirable tourist destinations.
- You may be able to negotiate a bigger discount off rental price, especially during the off-season.
- Monthly rent is locked in at the beginning of the reservation, so they can't arbitrarily raise it.
- Some jurisdictions (primarily in the US) will give you rights under certain tenant laws after 30 days of occupation.
- You don't need to get utilities installed and pay hefty deposits.
- A variety of payment types are accepted that typically offered with a regular long-term rental agreement.
Potential Negatives to Consider
Some possible negatives with trying to secure a long-term rental through Airbnb include:
- Local licensing laws in the region could prohibit the ability to rent long-term through Airbnb.
- It can be a longer process for a landlord/owner to vet you as a renter.
- The security deposit may be higher than with a traditional long-term rental.
- The owner may already have overlapping short-term rentals during the timeframe you want to stay.
- Most homeowners' policies will deny claims involving Airbnb rental tenants.
- Your initial payment is required when you book the long-term reservation, which means you could be paying months before you intend to move.
- You must give a 30-day notice of termination.
- You cannot choose the currency you pay in. It is determined by the payment method.
- Currency exchange rate is updated regularly, but it may not be identical to the real-time market rate.
- There is a 3% conversion fee on total cost if you're paying in a currency different from default where the listing is located.
Insurance, Payments and Cancellation
Since most homeowners' policies will deny claims based on Airbnb rentals, you should show proof of your own travel and/or renter's insurance. Be sure to find out whether your policy will cover you out of the country and in multiple properties, among other unique circumstances. In most cases, you're better off getting travel insurance, which you should still verify coverage under.
If you're wondering how payments are done, the monthly rent will be charged on the same credit card on which the initial down payment was made. If you're concerned about paying a month before even seeing the property, the initial payment is held by Airbnb until 24 hours after check-in in case there are any problems. Future payments are charged monthly starting one month after you move in.
Any rental over 28 days means the long-term cancellation policy applies. This requires a 30-day notice of lease termination.
A Variety of Payment Options
When it comes to payment types accepted, there is a huge benefit to renting via Airbnb if you like to pay for everything on a credit card to earn miles, points, or other benefits. Monthly payment options may include:
- Major credit cards and pre-paid credit cards, like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and JCB
- Some debit cards that can be processed as credit card
- PayPal (select countries)
- Alipay (China)
- Postepay (Italy)
- iDEAL (Netherlands)
- PayU (India)
- Sofort Überweisung (Germany)
- Boleto Bancário, Hipercard, Elo, and Aura (Brazil)
- Google Wallet (US Android app only)
- Apple Pay (iOS app only)
Some hosts may try to offer you a bigger discount if you pay them monthly in cash rather than putting the payment through Airbnb. The problem with that is you don't get receipts. There's also no contract, so there is no recourse through Airbnb itself in case something goes wrong. You can't leave a review either, which could be really important to warn other potential tenants if there is a huge problem.
Tips for Finding Long Term Rentals
If you're on the hunt for a long-term Airbnb rental, you may need to do some serious looking and negotiating to find the right deal.
- Find out what the slow season is for the area and try to start your rental during that period to maximize your potential savings.
- Start your search by looking at Airbnb's "sublet" section, which allows you to enter how many months you want to rent, rather than a start and end booking date.
- When ticking off the must-have boxes, it's better to use the less-is-more principle as some owners may have forgotten to check something entirely obvious, like a bathroom. If you enter too many criteria, you may find that your perfect match property is absent from the search results.
- Be sure to choose your payment method wisely. You can wind up saving more money on your long-term rental if you are using a credit card with cash back or lucrative rewards. Do some research to find out the best payment method to get the most out of your Airbnb long term rental.
A Better Place to Stay
Whether you are a digital nomad roaming every corner of the globe or you are looking for a semi-permanent place to stay in the city for several months at a stretch, Airbnb can be a very viable and oft-overlooked option for longer-term rentals. Do your due diligence as always and you'll be moving into your new "home" in no time.