Tenants illegally subletting is easer than ever. The spare room on Air BnB would go for around $45 a night, that’s an extra $315 per week. In the case of Debbie Iskandar, she was the main tenant of several homes in Auckland. She then sublet each house out on a room by room basis, including putting desperate families in to garages. She would have made $1000’s per week. Its lucrative, and can be illegal.
The Residential Tenancies Act outlines that subletting without the landlords consent is an unlawful act, with a fine of up to $1000.00. In section 57 of the act it states that with the termination of the tenancy, each subtenancy shall be deemed to be terminated also. Landlords need to be aware of this, and understand the process around ending the tenancy in such cases. Contact me for further information if you need to.
In the case where the landlord provides consent for the subtenancy, slightly different rules apply. But our problem lies with illegal subletting.
Air BnB have included in there terms and conditions that an accommodation in a “Listing” by a HOST must not breach any agreements you have entered into with any third parties, such as homeowners association, condominium, lease or rental agreements, and will be in compliance with all applicable laws. They also state that any host must make sure they have the appropriate insurance cover for any actions and interactions of Guests. Hosts can request security deposits from guests, in which case would form the basis of a tenancy. Thus can be illegal subletting without the landlords consent.
I am not aware of any tenancy tribunal ruling to confirm that hosting an Air BnB guest is the same as subletting. As there is a gray area between subletting and providing a spare room on a short term basis for a friend/guest in return for a few dollars. So there is still more to explore on this subject. However, as a property manager, I would approach it as illegal subletting until proven otherwise.
Please let mw know if you have anything to add to this topic, I appreciate feedback.