Should You Use Airbnb for a Long-Term Rental?

When you’re getting away for a long weekend, Airbnb is arguably the most convenient way to book a reasonably priced place to stay, especially in areas lacking traditional hotels and motels. Many people see Airbnb as so convenient, in fact, that they’ve begun turning to the service for months-long stays that resemble traditional housing or subletting scenarios. But should you actually use Airbnb for a long-term rental, or is this housing option ill-advised? Read on to decide for yourself.

Pros of using Airbnb for a long-term rental

Ease of payment

Pick any two landlords at random, and chances are that their preferred methods for tenants paying rent will be completely different. Some landlords will ask for checks to be mailed to them, other landlords will swing by your apartment to pick up a check, and others will accept your rent through online payment processing platforms or mobile payment services. 

With an Airbnb long-term rental, you can handle all rent payments from within the Airbnb website or app, eliminating the potential annoyance of mailing checks or arranging check pickup. In some cases, you’ll also pay for utilities through Airbnb, so you won’t have to deal with the hassle of splitting bills with roommates, figuring out how to pay your roommates, etc. And when you pay rent or utilities with Airbnb, you leave behind a paper trail that’s easier to document than using checks.

Fully furnished rentals

In some traditional subletting arrangements, you’ll have to bring your own furnishings – a mattress and bed frame, a desk, etc. – since you’re renting for a temporary period between two other long-term tenants. With Airbnb long-term rentals, you can rest assured that you’ll be moving into an apartment that comes fully furnished. If you’re operating on a modest budget for your long-term rental, you might find that the money and time saved on, respectively, not buying furnishings and lugging them into your rental makes using Airbnb well worth your while.

Cons of using AirBnB for a long-term rental

Possibly illegal

Let’s say you find an Airbnb that will allow you to stay in one room of a multi-room apartment for an extended period. This might seem ideal – it’s just one room in an already occupied apartment, so you’ll have less responsibility for managing utility bill accounts, interacting with a landlord, and all the other hassles that come with renting.

However, such a situation might be illegal. Many leases include provisions that ban subletting – long-term rentals are often equivalent to subletting in legal situations – or require the landlord’s written consent before arranging a sublet. You thus risk entering a housing situation from which a landlord could theoretically evict both you and your roommates, putting you back at square one. And even if the person from whom you’re long-term renting assures you that your situation is legal, you have no way to guarantee this unless they send you their lease, which isn’t common.

Larger security deposit

Many Airbnb long-term rentals require a larger security deposit than what you’d pay for a traditional lease or sublease. Although you’ll eventually get your security deposit back (assuming you cause no major damage to the apartment), any deposit you put down is money you can’t access until you move out – and if your budget is tight, you might need to keep your deposit as low as possible.

Would you use Airbnb for a long-term rental? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

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