WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SHORT TERM RENTAL LAW & PLATFORMS SUCH AS AIRBNB AND VRBO
Because it’s fairly easy to list a property for short-term rentals, you may be asking yourself the question “why do I need legal help with my vacation rental? I can do it all myself!” However, when you’re listing a property on Airbnb or plan or doing any sort of short-term rental, it’s vital that you understand what legal issues may arise.
These issues include drafting your short-term rental contract, local rental laws and regulations, the terms of service with the platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com, and defamatory ratings and reviews which affect your reputation. Your rental contract can provide your best protection against poor ratings and reviews, as well as damage caused by guests. If you are a property manager of short-term rentals, you need a listing agreement with the property owners that are going to set expectations and reduce legal risk. The laws surrounding short-term rentals do vary from state to state, and they are not always easy to understand. On top of these laws, you also have the requirements and rules of the various platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO that you must follow when using that site to rent your property and set key rental agreement terms related to refunds, cancellation, and property damage.
HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF WHEN RENTING A VACATION HOME?
Without legal advice, you may find that you have unknowingly broken the law. You also need an expert in short-term rentals law to assist you should you find yourself facing a lawsuit or need to seek legal action against a tenant, property manager, property owner or the rental listing website.
LEGAL ISSUES WITH SHORT-TERM RENTALS
One of the main reasons why short-term rental legal issues are so complex is because today’s online rental platforms also involve information technology law. Without a technology lawyer who is also familiar with rental law on your side, it can be difficult to fully protect yourself while renting out your vacation home or any other short-term rental property. There are a number of areas that go beyond landlord/tenant law, too, such as online defamation issues with unfair ratings or reviews of you or your property. Our short-term rental legal team can assist you with these extortion motivated, fake or revenge reviews while also ensuring that your online and offline reputation is not damaged.
RENTAL LAWS RELATED TO AIRBNB AND VRBO
As Airbnb, VRBO, and other, similar services have become more and more popular, the laws surrounding them and short-term rentals in general have changed. These new laws do constrain what you can do and how much power the service has over your rental property. Some cities have actually banned short-term rentals through what many refer to as airbnb rental laws. Other airbnb laws limit how many properties in a certain area can be used for vacation rentals. Some cities now require you to get a business license or a special permit for vacation rentals.
Before you join a short-term rental website, it’s vital that you understand the laws in your particular area. If you do not, you could face stiff legal fines. We can help you understand what laws might apply to your location and ensure that you follow those laws when renting your property as a short-term vacation rental.
TRAVERSE LEGAL HELPS CLIENTS NAVIGATE AIRBNB, VRBO AND STR LEGAL ISSUES
We have experience in representing property owners and property managers with their legal needs, including:
- Contract drafting. From straightforward rental agreements and property management contracts to specific agreements for services like Airbnb or VRBO, our team is equipped to review, draft, advise, and negotiate any related rental or property management contract. Our real estate contract attorneys specialized, ensuring that all your contractual needs are covered so you can worry about building your business, rather than crossing all the “t’s” and dotting the “i’s.”
- Removal, suspension, or deletion from the Airbnb or VRBO Hosting Platform. The number of hosts who are being removed or suspended from the Airbnb and VRBO platform, often without explanation, continues to increase. Airbnb’s Terms of Service purport to allow Airbnb some discretion related to your participation as a member on the platform. But oftentimes, AIrnb removes or suspends hosts without explanation, and later admits that removal was in error. In other instances, Airbnb simply is wrong about its removal decision. In the meantime, Airbnb cancels all your future bookings with your guests, as well as the rental income for those reservations.
- Airbnb Host Account Review: What to do when Airbnb Trust and Safety team reviews your hosting account and threatens termination.
- Reputation Management. Our short-term rental hosts and property managers live and die by their ratings and five-star reviews. What happens if a guest threatens to leave you a bad review if you don’t comply with their unreasonable demand? We can help you with your rental terms to provide the leverage you will need to ensure that reviews and ratings are fair and accurate. If an incomplete or false review is posted on the Airbnb or VRBO platform, you will need the guest to agree and request its removal. Our attorneys can provide the leverage you need to remove false reviews.
- Dispute resolution. The Traverse Legal team has vast experience with a short-term rental, Airbnb, and VRBO related mediation, arbitration, and litigation. We have represented hundreds of Airbnb Hosts in arbitration against Airbnb for failing to make payouts, failure to apply the cancellation policy agreed to by hosts or guests, canceling reservations and blocking calendars, and other issues. Whether we are representing individual property owners or property management groups, we know the issues and have successfully navigated to our client’s desired outcomes before. We are class counsel to one of the largest class actions against Airbnb ever filed.
The team at Traverse Legal is here to advise you and help you understand the legal issues you may face. Our real estate and rental law attorneys have the experience, and a proven track record with helping clients like you find success with their legal issues – here are just a few examples:
- We represent hosting business and property managers in the short-term rental market draft rental terms, rental agreements and property management agreements to reduce risk and increase leverage if something goes wrong.
- We provide representation for hosts who are subjected to extortion by guests threatening to post false or defamatory reviews.
- We provide language for use by hosts to ensure that reviews and ratings do not unfairly fail to mention key issues and facts when leaving reviews.
- We provide advice and counsel working with hosts trying to get platforms such as Airbnb, VRBo and Booking.com to play fair, be transparent and be accountable to their terms of service and policies.
- No one wants to litigate, but sometimes you have no choice. We handle more dispute resolution in the short-term rental markets than virtually any other law firm.
- If your local zoning board or municipal regulations prohibit or restrict short-term rentals, we can provide advice on how best to organize your community in order to change the rules and regulations to permit you to operate.
Ready to learn more about how our team can help you? Contact the real estate and short-term rental Attorneys at Traverse Legal today.