Hi air bnb, I'm your neighbor
June 30, 2016 5:17 AM   Subscribe

Have YOU ever lived next to an air bnb? If there a way to make my lease less binding/long term in this scenario while I see what living across from a 'hotel' is like?

My landlord has decided to fix up the rental directly opposite of us as an air bnb rental. It is a small one bedroom and they have made it pretty nice in there, so I don't think they're going for the party crowd. I don't really care that much about the stranger in my house angle particularly, but I am concerned about noise/disruption. There is a small backyard and porch that we use often and that could presumably be a space for people to have potentially loud guests over.

Have you ever lived next to an air bnb? What was your experience? Actual experiences are preferred to catastrophizing without actual experience :).

Second question: our lease is up September 1 and we intended to stay. They require a two month notification if we're moving which would be tomorrow. Does anyone have any bright ideas about how to negoriate this so that we don't have to find a new place but if living here is a nightmare we're not locked into a year lease?
posted by geegollygosh to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My old roommate owns the bottom half of a duplex and her upstairs neighbor rents out the top half as an AirBnB pretty regularly (although it's not *exclusively* AirBnB - upstairs neighbor just travels a lot). My friend has had some problems with noisy young children and people messing around in her garden and (justifiably) bitches about it sometimes. Obviously since she owns, the barrier to my friend moving is a lot higher.

Anyway, I don't think it's a guaranteed nightmare. And if you have recurring noise problems, etc., that are interfering with your quiet enjoyment of your home, there's a good chance you'll be able to break your lease anyway. And if your landlord is renting out AirBnB #1 enough to annoy you, they might be cool with you moving out so they can turn your unit into an AirBnB too!

If your landlord is a human being (not a management company) who you have a previously OK relationship with, I would just express your concerns to them and see where it goes from there.
posted by mskyle at 5:34 AM on June 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

So maybe the better question to be asking is what should I know about potentially breaking a lease if this is a problem?

I have only met the landlord once, I primarily deal with a rental agency.
posted by geegollygosh at 5:44 AM on June 30, 2016

What you're able to do with the lease in terms of breaking it depends largely on state law. In most jurisdictions if you're in the middle of a lease you'd either be able to sublet out the remainder term of your lease, or alternatively, find a replacement tenant to assign the lease to to mitigate damages.

At this point if you're unsure as to whether you want to stay or not, I'd ask to see if a month-to-month lease is something they would entertain.
posted by Karaage at 5:59 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Can you sign a lease for a shorter term - say 6 months, to see how things work out?
posted by INFJ at 6:04 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

At the risk of stating the obvious, if this AirBNB is legally questionable or questionably allowed by his insurer (which depends on not only your jurisdiction but the number of units in the building and many other factors), you have pretty strong leverage to get out of the lease if it ends up being a problem.
posted by enn at 6:12 AM on June 30, 2016 [10 favorites]

Where are you from? New York is actively in the process of banning AirBnB from the state, so as enn says, it depends on where you are.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:41 AM on June 30, 2016

I live next door to a cottage we own and rent out an an AirBnb. The three key provisions that will affect your quality of life is a) whether they allow pets; b) whether they represent the unit as including more than one bed and/or accommodating more than 2 people, and c) if they make it easy for the guest to call someone for help when things go wrong. The vast majority of the time the Airbnb guests are unobtrusive and often enjoyable in a superficial friendly wave way; get a number so you can call the owner if there's an issue. When they aren't, it's usually about barking dogs; they're no worse than any random neighbor and the good news: unlike awful leaseholders, the bad ones leave pretty quickly.
posted by carmicha at 7:25 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Regarding breaking the lease early -- check the rental laws for your area. They will explain what needs to be done in such a case. Where I live, the landlord must make a good-faith,effort to find a new tenant, and it's illegal to collect rent from the prior tenant once the new person has started paying.

Google 'tenant law' for your city or county first, because local law can be more specific than state law.
posted by wryly at 7:27 AM on June 30, 2016

You have some leverage here (unless they are desperate to turn your place over and are really wishing you'd leave), so I would just start with the rental company pretty much the same way you stated it here: "Hey, I'm a little leery of signing another year since I'm about to live next to an AirBnB, can we talk about a 4- or 6-month lease just to see how this goes? What would the terms be if we switched to month-to-month? Okay, cool, we'll be going with X."
posted by Lyn Never at 7:52 AM on June 30, 2016

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I will definitely float the idea of a shorter lease but I'm not sure how successful it will be.

I'm in Providence, RI. As far as I know there aren't any efforts to further restrict Airbnb.

I'm not sure if they'd like us to leave or not, honestly. We've been good tenants but they may think they can get more money out of someone else.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:13 AM on June 30, 2016

When my new neighbor moved in, I thought, "This woman sure has a lot of friends. Or deals in drugs." A noticeable amount of cars, maybe two or three different new cars a week. I started to get suspicious and then my thoughts were confirmed when one of several people knocked on my door asking, "Is this the AirBnB?" Then more annoying - people parking in my spot in the driveway (we share it; if someone parks in my driveway, then I can't get my car out of the garage.) I did a bit of searching and found her listing - a guest room - on AirBnB. I'm a pretty tolerant person so I really only get upset with the driveway thing.
posted by HeyAllie at 8:22 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

It sounds like this is something that hasn't actually started happening yet. (Otherwise you would already know whether you wanted to keep living there.)

If this is a "someday" thing, and there won't be AirBnB guests until long after your new lease goes into effect, why not just see what it's like? If it turns out to be an annoyance, don't re-sign your lease a year from now. I highly doubt -- unless it's obvious that they are setting it up as a party house -- that the first AirBnB guest is going to show up, and your apartment is suddenly going to become obviously unlivable. It's going to be a barking dog, a cigarette butt dropped onto your balcony, etc. Garden variety irritating neighbor stuff.

If the issue is that AirBnB guests are set to begin arriving at some point between when you have to commit to signing the lease and when you actually sign it -- meaning you could get stuck in a situation where you said you were going to sign a new lease but end up changing your minds -- why not just ask your landlord if you can wait to see what the AirBnB situation ends up being before committing? See if you can slide the whole thing to August or September and go month to month in the meantime?
posted by Sara C. at 9:40 AM on June 30, 2016

I lived for a couple years in the basement of a house where the ground floor was frequently rented out on the short term while the usual occupants (my landlords) were out of town. I think maybe some of these were Airbnb rentals and some via craigslist.

In general, it wasn't a big deal and we barely noticed, but there were a few exceptions. Summertime renters tended to crank the air conditioning to max and leave it on for the duration of their stay, which had the side effect of dropping the temperature in our basement apartment into the mid to upper 40s. Once we got a pile of wealthy teenagers in town to party for a week, and they were the kind of (hilariously) terrible that you can reliably expect from the combination of entitled youth and hard liquor, and evidently trashed the place to boot - I think our landlords learned from that one.

I've also stayed in quite a few Airbnbs at this point, and I think from that perspective, generally you're trying to be considerate of the neighbors and the property.

I guess what I'm saying is that it probably won't be a big deal, but you can expect a few annoyances to crop up over the course of a year.
posted by brennen at 10:25 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I live right next door to a house where one room is rented on AirBNB.

It's not really a big deal, except for two things:
1) We basically share an address (e.g. they live at number 32 and we live at 32A) so a couple times a week, we'll have AirBNB travellers mistakenly ringing our doorbell. Sometimes, the hosts aren't around when they arrive, so they're just hanging out in the street and we feel the need to offer them drinks etc.

2) One time, the AirBNB travellers accidentally locked out the hosts, and then didn't open the door when the hosts rang the bell, so we had two hours of our next-door neighbours hollering in the street in the early hours of the morning.

The first is not a big deal at all, though, and the second was extremely annoying but also is probably unlikely to happen to you.
posted by littlegreen at 10:36 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Coming back to add: remember, even if the other apartment were up for rent in the usual sort of way, you could end up with terrible neighbors across the hall. The downside of living adjacent to an AirBnB is that you will have different people rotating through, but the upside is that the annoying ones won't stay long. My upstairs neighbors are pretty annoying and they're there ~50 weeks a year.

Also, AirBnB now has a complaint form for neighbors, though I have no idea how good they are about responding to it or what they would do in the event that you were complaining about your own landlord.
posted by mskyle at 10:39 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would just be honest with them about your concerns and flat out ask to go month to month until this works out or it doesn't. Not sure if that's a possibility where you live.

(Where I live, no one really signs multiple leases. You sign one lease and then just go month to month. )
posted by cnc at 2:45 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

The danger with going month to month is if he starts making good money with the place across the hall, he might decide to kick them out and do the same to their unit. It's a hard call. Cnc, in some places people re-sign every year. Around here it's mostly the complexes that want you to commit.
posted by cabingirl at 3:47 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Fully a third of the building I live in is units that are rented out on AirBnB. Honestly, I really like it. I am not the sort of person who gets to know the neighbors, and in a selfish way, I like being able to do mostly whatever I like - AirBnB isn't strictly legal here, so the renters and the people renting the places out have zero right to complain to me (a legitimate renter of the unit) if I annoy them in any way. I have all the leverage in this relationship. I don't make a practice of being annoying on purpose, but it gives me a sense of security and helps me not worry about bothering people (which is something I ordinarily worry about a lot.)

Even if it is legal there, it definitely gives you the upper hand in your relationship with both your landlord and whatever local authorities exist.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 9:39 PM on June 30, 2016

Sure, I lived in Venice (LA) in a place that was sometimes an Air BnB, and sometimes a longer sublet as it was for us. Venice has a very high percentage of ABnBs compared to apartment stock.

There were plenty of times when it really sucked. For me I knew it was temporary and I just kind of grinned and bore it, enjoyed it like a vacation, walked to the beach more often, etc. And maybe this is really Venice specific, but it was like living on a college campus. People in Air BnBs are on vacation. They don't give a shit about being a good neighbor, they are there for drugs and the beach. They're going to treat your neighborhood like a hotel lobby.

Again, Venice is definitely more of YOLO place than Providence, I'm pretty sure. But man... not for me.
posted by tremspeed at 6:46 PM on July 3, 2016

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