How to convert an Airbnb into a long-term rental
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the tourism sector. International and domestic travel has dried up, and Airbnb hosts and other short-term rental accommodation providers are scrambling to get their properties leased longer-term. A spike of rental homes has hit the market, and those who haven’t yet made the switch are looking to learn how to convert an Airbnb into a long-term rental.
In this guide, we’ll explain the process step-by-step, so you can be 100 per cent sure you understand and are meeting your obligations as a landlord.
Airbnb’s response to COVID-19
On March 14, 2020, Airbnb announced that any reservations made on or before March 14 with a check-in date between March 14, 2020, and April 14, 2020, were entitled to a full refund.
“Our extenuating circumstances policy is intended to protect guests and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking,” Airbnb wrote.
This “Extenuating Circumstances Policy” overrides individual cancellation policies, leaving many hosts unexpectedly out-of-pocket and triggering what’s been referred to as the “Airbnb Apocolypse.”
Ex-Airbnb properties in premier tourist destinations across the globe are flooding the market at prices far below the going rate – in some cases, at rental prices 30 per cent below average. Hosts are rushing to get their properties tenanted as soon as possible. Therein lies the risk.
Self-managed landlords are not exempt from rental legislation, and ignorance is no excuse.
How to convert an Airbnb into a long-term rental
Step 1: Prepare your property for tenants
Your property is likely already in a suitable condition for tenants – after all, visitors have been happy to fork out their hard-earned cash to holiday there. That being said, there are some specific obligations you’ll have to meet before listing your Airbnb as a long-term rental, such as:
- Rental repairs and basic maintenance
- Obligations relating to health and safety, for example, those relating to a swimming pool or spa
- Water efficiency obligations (check your state or territory’s rental authority’s rules on water efficiency, and read our article, Can I Charge Tenants for Water Consumption?)
You’ll also need to decide whether to leave your property furnished or store the property’s contents. In general, long-term furnished rentals yield 15 to 20 per cent more than unfurnished rentals. Do keep in mind, however, that most tenants have their own furniture and would not consider a furnished rental.
Step 2: Determine rent and bond
To attract the right tenants to your property, you’ll need to set an appropriate rental price and bond. Here’s how to determine rent and bond:
- Research median rents in your suburb for similar dwellings (do keep in mind that the uncertain economic conditions caused by the pandemic may impact rental prices)
- Compare your rental property to others on the market – consider things like size, condition, and any special features
- Settle on a price that’s justifiable – for example, if the average two-bedroom apartment in your area rents for $450 per week and you’ve just put in a brand-new kitchen and repainted the walls, you may be justified in seeking $475 per week
For a detailed, step-by-step rundown of setting price and bond, check out our article How to Determine Rental Price and Bond.
Step 3: Showcase your property
You already have several professional images showcasing the best features of your property – that’s fantastic, and you can absolutely use them to advertise your rental to longer-term tenants.
You will, however, need to write a new property description. Put yourself in a tenant’s shoes. They are looking for a home, not a weekend getaway. They are more interested in your property’s proximity to schools and amenities than nightlife hotspots and tourist attractions.
Find out what makes an excellent rental property description inspire action in our article, How To Write a Rental Property Advertisement.
Finally, consider creating a 360-degree view or video walk-through of your property. With open house inspections banned, tenants will be seeking alternative ways to explore available rentals. Here at RentEzy, we allow owners to upload video, 360-degree images, and floor plans as a part of their property listing.
Step 4: Advertise your rental property
As a private landlord looking to get your property tenanted fast, you need an effective, reliable, cost-effective way of listing your house or apartment for rent.
While free social media advertising may be your first choice, we suggest giving it a second thought. Social media platforms and marketplaces are essentially free-for-alls, and scammers know this. When you advertise your property, you can’t be sure potential tenants are who they say they are – and this puts you and your property at risk.
With RentEzy, you can create a sleek, professional listing in under 10 minutes. Your advertisement with then be search-engine-optimised, so your property gets found on Google. The best bit? You can reach thousands of suitable tenants for an extremely affordable price. Find out more about our Private Rental Property Ads today.
Step 5: Screen tenants
Financially, you may need tenants in your property as soon as possible. But that doesn’t mean you should accept the first person to send you an enquiry. It’s essential to screen tenants. Otherwise, you could end up in a nightmare situation.
For information on screening tenants, check out our article, How to Screen Tenants.
Step 6: Conduct a property inspection while following government-issued guidelines
The COVID-19 crisis is still unfolding. Governments are continually updating their guidelines and introducing new restrictions. Open houses have already been banned, and so, too, have gatherings of two or more people. The impact this has on the rental property market is yet to be known.
There are, however, some alternatives:
- Do a video walk-through to create a virtual tour
- Conduct a private inspection with yourself and one representative from the household
Step 7: Collect and supply rental documents
Renting your property to a longer-term tenant requires a fair amount of paperwork – all of which can be transferred digitally to minimise contact.
You’ll need to collect the following rental documents from the tenant:
- Tenant application form
- Tenancy agreement
- Condition report
- Guide to renting for tenants
- Security deposit/bond lodgement form
- Owners/body corporate rules and applicable by-laws
- Other documents, such as emergency repair contacts; warranties and operating manuals; reports relating to water efficiency, pool safety, and smoke alarm compliance; and so on
You can find out more about required rental documents on our Managing Rentals page.
Step 8: Maintain your rental property
As a landlord, you have a responsibility to maintain the rental property, and this includes making repairs. It’s essential to understand who is liable for what. In general, landlords are accountable for costs related to wear and tear, such as:
- Faded or cracked paint
- Scuffed wooden floors
- Faded curtains
- Furniture indentations on carpet
Tenants are typically liable for the following:
- Stains on the carpet
- Burns or cuts on the kitchen bench
- Missing or damaged (for example, torn by a pet) curtains
- Water stains caused by indoor pot plants
- Paint damage from décor mounted using Blu-Tac or sticky tape
- Holes in the wall left by picture hooks
Find out more about rental property repairs in our article, Wear and Tear or Accidental Damage?
List your Airbnb as a long-term rental
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all, and we all need to make changes and adapt to this new way of life.
Now that you know how to convert an Airbnb into a long-term rental, it’s time to get started. Create your professional rental property listing and expose your rental to a broad range of tenants.