Need a dress for next week? Find something on Rent-The-Runway. Need a lift to the airport? Open your Uber or Lyft app. Need a place to stay on vacation? Make a reservation with Airbnb.
In this brave new world, ownership is no longer the only way to get what you want. Did you know that, in 2013, sharing economy transactions brought in about 15 billion dollars? That’s a lot of cash! If you’re looking to hop on the bandwagon and make money on unused space in your apartment, signing up for Airbnb could be the perfect solution. But before you start snapping pics and booking guests, be sure you have all the information. Here’s what you need to know before posting your apartment on Airbnb!
Follow the law: Is it legal in your city?
You’re allowed to have guests spend the night, so this shouldn’t be a problem…right? Wrong. Having your cousin Carl crash in your guest room over Christmas is very different than charging a stranger for that same room. Airbnb isn’t required to inform you of local zoning laws, so make sure you check them out on your own. You don’t want to end up like Nigel Warren of New York City who ended up having to pay $2,400 in fines for disobeying zoning laws. Check out Airbnb’s helpful list of legal restrictions before you start dreaming of dolla dolla bills.
Review your lease: Will your landlord allow for it?
Even if your city has nothing against you posting your place, your landlord might. Even landlords who allow their tenants to sublease apartments may have restrictions on when they can do so. For instance, your lease could stipulate that you’re allowed to rent out your apartment only after living there a full year first. Make sure you know what your lease says about subleasing or hosting guests beforehand to avoid paying nasty fines or–even worse–getting evicted.
Look ahead: Are you prepared to pay taxes on what you earn?
You are required to file taxes when you make over $600 in income, whether you end up owing state or federal taxes on it or not. Regardless of whether Airbnb sends you specific tax information, you are responsible for filing. Calculate what you need to declare by using your total income from your Earnings Summary less any deductible income. If you’re confused, Airbnb provides plenty of information in their FAQs.
In general, Airbnb will provide you with tax documents if you:
- earned over $20,000 and had 200+ reservations
- are a non-US citizen and submitted a W-8
- elected to have taxes withheld from your payouts
Check your comfort level: Are you ready for strangers in your space?
Whether you’re hosting visitors in your spare room or using them to fund your vacation while you’re away, you still have strangers in your home. While Airbnb has plenty of safeguards in place to cover damages and keep everyone safe, the fact remains that you probably won’t know your guests very well. If the idea of not knowing your houseguests gives you the heeby-jeebies, hosting may not be for you. But if the prospect of meeting all sorts of new people excites you, get ready for a grand (and lucrative) adventure!
Ready to make some money off that spare room? Congratulations on putting your apartment to work for you! And if you’re ready to become an Airbnb host but don’t think your current space fits the bill, that’s okay, too. Use ApartmentSearch.com to find your next apartment and your hosting dreams may soon come true! Earn $200 in rewards as soon as you sign on the dotted line simply by telling your new landlord where you found them, ApartmentSearch. That’s a nice chunk of change for you to stock up on toilet paper, coffee, and all the best hosting essentials!
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