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Airbnb: 8 Tips for New Hosts

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Planning on listing your property on Airbnb? Here are a few things new hosts should consider.

1. Location of your property and potential demographic of your guests.

Guests usually plan to stay close to the centre of activity and culture they would like to experience. For example if your property is near a stadium, there’s a high chance your guests may be attending sports events. Think about the biggest demographic of sports attendees and ask yourself the extent of behaviour you would tolerate in your property.

2. De-risk your home against bad apples.

You can request a security deposit prior to the guest’s arrival. Be wary of Instant Bookings, as this does not give you the opportunity to review the guest before they book in their stay. As a final precaution, have your guests sign a contract before they arrive. This can clearly lay out the check-in and check-out dates and times, rules of conduct, deposit refund or any other concerns you may have. While it may put off some guests, those who have nothing to hide should have no problems with signing it.

3. Make sure your home is safe for occupation.

When leasing out your property, it is your property manager’s role to ensure the safety of the premises are kept. If you’re putting up an Airbnb listing, this responsibility falls on you. You’ll need to check that the smoke alarms are working and that heaters (if any) have been serviced in the last 2 years. Make sure that all doors and locks work smoothly in the event that evacuation is necessary. While Airbnb does not conduct any routine inspections on the safety of your property, it’s a simple favour you are doing your guest that may save their life.

4. Check your home insurance coverage for accidents or damage.

You’ll need to fully insure your home against the risk of irresponsible guests causing major damage, as seeking damage compensation from Airbnb is difficult. Read the fine print of Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, and don’t assume it will protect you fully. It also does not cover a refusal to vacate.

5. Long term Airbnb stays could turn your guest into a legal tenant.

According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, if your Airbnb guest resides in your property for more than 90 days, they legally gain the rights as a tenant. This means that in the unlikely event that they refuse to vacate after that period, you will need to follow the same eviction procedure through VCAT as a landlord would, costing you significant time and money.

6. Airbnb income is taxable.

Airbnb provides a good source of cash flow for owner occupiers who are still paying off their mortgage. Bear in mind that your Airbnb income is classified as a taxable gain, as the ATO will have your information on hand already. Depending on the length of time you’ve resided at your property, and the length of time you’ve hosted part of your property on Airbnb, you may be liable to pay a portion of capital gains tax.

7. Your ratings and reviews are your “open for inspections”.

To maximise the occupancy rate of your property, it’s essential that you maintain a high rating by providing your guests with a great experience, so that they are happy to leave a positive review. We would recommend to maintain at least 4.5 stars to remain competitive. Keep your property clean and restocked after each stay. Be honest in your description of your listing, as you’ll be rated for accuracy.

8. Guests look for a trustworthy host, not just a room.

Beautiful photographs, a friendly host profile photo and personal statement will build trust immediately. When there’s nothing hide, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Remember that, while you are risking your property, your guests risk themselves. They are looking for someone credible whom they are comfortable staying with.

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