Travelers are a spending a lot less time at hotels and hostels and a lot more time in strangers’ homes, especially since the launch of Airbnb, the biggest name in homesharing. Airbnb is a website that allows homeowners and renters to offer accommodations in their house or apartment for a short period of time. It’s popularity has grown tremendously since the service is a lot less expensive and sometimes more convenient than finding a hotel for the night in countries around the world.It has since made homesharing a global phenomenon, with people in nearly 200 countries and more than 34,000 cities now using Airbnb to rent out their rooms, apartments and houses to people who need a place to stay. As an added bonus, people who rent out their space can make some extra cash! Here’s everything you need to know about how making money on AirBnB works and what it means for renters:

Is Making Money on AirBnB Legal for Renters?

A lot of cities, including New York City and San Francisco, have had several legal battles surrounding Airbnb and homesharing. Rightfully so. Renting out your apartment results in many liabilities for the host and the property. Damages to the property or the apartment could be the responsibility of the host – not to mention safety concerns. Landlords in New York City have found that it’s perpetuated illegal subletting, and violates the rules listed on the apartment lease. San Francisco recently made homesharing legal by passing the “Airbnb law,” which allows hosts to use the site for short-term rentals so long as they are permanent San Francisco residents with at least $500,000 in liability insurance.

If you’re interested in renting your space out, make sure you first check out your hometown laws and guidelines, and contact your landlord to avoid any legal trouble. We do not recommend hosting without asking your landlord for permission first.

Is Homesharing Safe for Hosts?

There have been incidents where people have rented out their homes and returned days, weeks or months later to find they had been robbed or someone had completely wrecked their property.

But for the most part, Airbnb has measures which assure that both hosts and guests are kept safe and secure. Here are a few ways Airbnb can keep you safe as a host:

  • The website verifies the identity of everyone who makes a profile, usually by scanning an ID.

  • You can utilize the ratings and reviews that are listed on the website when deciding if you want to accept someone as a guest.

  • Airbnb itself takes care of handling money transactions, so guests can’t skip out without paying.

How much money can you make from AirBnB?

With the safety and legality issues out of the way, now the real question becomes: can you actually make money from AirBnB rentals and how much? Well, AirBnb can provide the answer for you with their calculator. Plug in your zipcode and how often you can rent your apartment and the calculator tells you how much to rent a room for and how much of your rent will be covered in a given month. There are some people who  make money on AirBnB to supplement their income and pay for expenses, while others pay their entire rent and even make a profit.

How Homesharing with Airbnb Works

If you’re interested in Airbnb, here’s how you can get started:

  • Check with your landlord: We can’t say enough that you should check with your landlord before becoming an Airbnb host. If there’s a no-subletting clause in your lease, you could lose your security deposit or even be evicted.

  • Make a profile: First make a profile for yourself on the site—you’ll have to add a profile picture and go through some identification verification procedures so that potential guests know you’re legitimate.

  • List your space: Once you’ve made a profile, you can list the space you’re renting. You’ll be able to list what type of home it is, the lodging you’re offering (entire home, shared room or private room), and how many people the space can accommodate. You’ll also be able to list amenities and add photos.

  • Choose availability: After listing, you can choose the specific dates your apartment or house will be available.

  • Pricing and fees: As a host you can decide your price per night, and you’ll also have options for extra fees. Hosts set up a security deposit in case of damage to their property, and they can also charge guests a cleaning fee.

Homesharing is both legal (usually) and relatively safe as long as you take precautions. As a renter, make sure your landlord is okay with you renting the space out to someone else before using the site, and you’ll be safe from any legal backlash.

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