Legally Speaking: Renting out your home short term can be a plus or minus

Feb 19, 2016, 11:17 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

It is beautiful outside in the Valley and the visitors are coming.

Our weather, along with spring training, are the two biggest reasons that others flock to our state this time of year.

Although many will stay in hotels, there is a huge market for short-term rentals. Think Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, Roomarama, and HotelTonight.

If you are thinking of renting out your place and making some fast cash, there are several things you need to be aware of from both a #LegallySpeaking perspective and a practical one.

• Lease: If you have a lease, does the lease allow you to rent out your place short-term? Do you have to notify or ask your landlord? Most leases will not allow you to rent out your place for any period of time. If they do, they will almost always have a provision that requires your landlord to approve the renters.

You could decide to do it anyway, and not ask your landlord, but be ready for the consequences. You could find yourself in breach of your lease, being served an eviction notice and looking for a new place to live.

• Insurance: You need to be aware of what type of insurance you have and what it will and will not cover. If the short-term tenant damages your property or if they are injured on your property, does your insurance cover it and to what extent?

You do not want to end up being sued for that loose step, wobbly railing, or a slip and fall in your shower because you did not have enough insurance. You may find that you need to add insurance or increase existing coverage.

• Personal items in your home: A short-term tenant will almost always expect the place to be furnished. You can keep your personal items and furniture on the property while you rent it out or you can move it all out and bring in different items.

You are looking at a nice price tag to rent furniture for a short-term tenant, plus the time of moving your items and moving in the rented ones; but if the items remain, you could also be looking at your personal items being stolen or damaged.

• Privacy: People are curious. They will look through your drawers, closets, medicine cabinet and boxes. You need to take adequate precautions to ensure your personal information is either gone or locked up tight.

• Background checks: I highly suggest these. You are inviting strangers into your home. They may seem and appear to be wonderful people but do you really know if they are? Of course you don’t. They could be convicted felons, child molesters and/or drug dealers.

I know this sounds unlikely but you need to protect yourself. Background checks are relatively inexpensive and can be done easily with the right starting information.

• HOA/condo association rules: Many housing communities and condo buildings have an association with a plethora of rules. One common rule is that owners/tenants cannot rent to short-term tenants. Consequences vary from a warning to a fine to a lawsuit. No one likes dealing with their HOA or association so make sure you read the rules.

• Squatters: Once someone comes into your home it is not always easy to get them out. You could rent your place to a person who simply refuses to leave. This would result in you having to go to court to get a court order to have them removed, which takes time. During that time you could find yourself without a place to live. This could also result in the squatter damaging your property, taking your things, and causing havoc with your neighbors. This is another reason why background checks are a great idea.


• Writing: Put everything in writing! If you do end up renting out your place, make sure you have a written agreement in place signed by all parties. This agreement should spell out and describe many things, such as the full names and addresses of all the parties, describe the responsibilities of each party, the cost, the deposit and the length of time (this is not an exhaustive list).

These are just some of the things you should consider if you are thinking of renting your place out to our spring visitors.

It may seem to be an easy way to make some cash but the consequences can be less than desirable if you do not take adequate steps to protect yourself.

Be smart, be practical, dot your i’s and cross your t’s and follow your instinct. Some fast cash might not be worth it.

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Legally Speaking: Renting out your home short term can be a plus or minus