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Are Airbnb House Rules Legally Binding?

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Are Airbnb House Rules Legally Binding?


This question has a more complex answer than you might think.



International Rules are much different
HOUSE RULES

Are Airbnb house rules legally binding?

Airbnb's rules should not need to be repeated, so keeping them short would make things easier for both the renter and the owner. To make sure the contract is legally binding, you would need to have the renter sign a separate contract, checked by an attorney to ensure it’s enforceable. If the renter signs this contract, it is binding, and you can go to court for reparations. If they refuse to sign, you can simply not rent them.


Be careful
A SLIPPERY SLOPE

A slippery slope?

This is unfortunate when it comes to simple rules like ‘Don’t wear shoes in the house” because this would never be able to be proven unless you were invading privacy and filming your guests. Therefore, making this a rule at all only exacerbates the situation of having a contract at all.


The best way to make sure your rules are binding and that your renters want to abide by them is to simply add them to the Airbnb “About this space” already established by Airbnb. Renters do look at these and are aware of the rules before renting. Having this already in a contract that Airbnb can see is making it easier for them to be able to step in and help you arbitrate should something go wrong.


Do not expect another country to side with you!
ENFORCING THE LAW

Enforcement?

Enforcing those rules in a separate written contract would be a very difficult task, as you have the burden of proof. Therefore, we beg the question, are Airbnb house rules legally binding?

Example;

Let’s say John rents to Jane. Jane decides to have a little party and gets wine on the sofa. You have a 250-dollar deposit, however, the cost to clean the sofa is 900 dollars. You can go to court for the stain, but any judge will favor the renter if she says it was already there. Why? Because you can’t prove it wasn’t. The judge will need proof to make this person pay you.


Cameras are a good idea outside the house
PROOF?

Proof.

The element of proof makes video evidence a must in this business. One way to provide this is to video your rental with the date added to the file. Having that little snippet of a clean walk-through would force the legal system to enforce the extra costs you are incurring. If you are not near the property, ask the cleaning crew to do this once the cleaning is finished. Not only do you have proof of your belongings, but you are assuring that the rental is cleaned properly as well.


Ask a lawyer!
KNOW YOUR LAWS

Know your local laws!

One thing to be aware of is the local laws around your rental.

Example;

For instance, in some countries, it’s illegal to charge extra for service pets and illegal to refuse service to people with service pets. Breaking this law, even if you placed a rule about no pets will not be enforceable in court and may lead to you being fined for illegally precluding a disabled person from their rights.

This would be a disaster for your business so make sure you handle this topic through a local attorney.


Keep immaculate books
NOT THOSE BEANS!

Be a “Bean Counter!”

Lastly, I always tell my clients to think like a “Bean-Counter” (aka an accountant). How much would this cost if things went wrong, compared to how much does it cost to not do anything at all?

Knowing these things allows you to decide like a business owner, not a landlord.


So, are Airbnb house rules legally binding? That depends on the rule. Just remember, you are running a business. This means you cannot get emotional about it. Being a drama queen will not get you what you want from a business.

Never let them see you sweat!


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