Where would we be without AirBnb? The home-renting app puts the power in the hands of its customers, allowing people to make an income or supplement their existing income by renting their apartment out to strangers. Beyond the financial perks, it can also be exciting to welcome a traveller into your home. Some AirBnb hosts find that the pressure to clean up before a guest arrives has improved their bad cleaning habits and encouraged them to become tidier people.
But like any way of making money with a high reward, there is big time risk. Last year, numerous Montrealers had their apartments damaged by AirBnb guests. Beyond that, the legislation on home sharing is vague and could lead to big time fines. Here are some of the pros and cons of renting out your place with AirBnb:
Pro: It’s really easy
AirBnb has made it as easy as possible to host with their app. They have message boards where hosts can share tips. After you’ve rented a few times, they’ll send you gifts in the mail to improve your place. The payment and ratings systems are intuitive and easy to deal with.
Con: The start-up cost
New legislation that arrived last year forces hosts to obtain a $250 permit, get $2 million of insurance, and pay a nightly “hotel tax.” This on top of other costs like buying extra towels, having keys cut, and the time spent cleaning up after your guests all add up quickly.
Pro: It is relatively safe
Any kind of an app with a mandatory rating system ensures a certain level of safety. Hosts can read reviews of their guests, and ensure that they are a respectful part of the community and haven’t caused problems before. AirBnb says problem guests are very rare. Still, some hosts take a gamble on renters with no reviews and end up getting burned, as was the case for multiple Montreal hosts who were robbed last year.
Con: Uncertain legislation
Across Canada, Quebec is known as the first province to have taken serious action to regulate AirBnb. They implemented the permit, require the hotel tax, and have inspectors who are in charge of making sure AirBnb hosts are following the rules. Still, less than one percent of Montreal’s AirBnb hosts actually pay for the permit, and it is very rare for anyone to get persecuted for unauthorized hosting, so the rules are still very much in the air.