UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Should I Rent Out My Condo Through Airbnb?

by UrbanTurf Staff


In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a DC homeowner who is considering renting out a bedroom or his whole condo through Airbnb is looking to hear from city residents who have been successful in doing so.

I own an 1,100 square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo in between Logan Circle and Dupont Circle, and I have recently considered renting out the empty bedroom or the whole apartment (when I go away) through Airbnb. I am curious if any DC residents have done this and if the experience has been positive. I am also interested in what the appropriate price would be and if there are things I need to watch out for. Thanks in advance.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_should_i_rent_my_condo_through_airbnb/4715


  1. Emil said at 4:34 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    Nothing but bad experiences with them

  1. Lindsay said at 4:37 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    Number one piece of advice, if you have a condo, is make sure your condo association rules allow it.  Many don’t in their by-laws.

  1. eric said at 4:43 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    I have rented my one bedroom in dupont a few times at about 100 dollars a night through them and generally had good experiences. I would require a security deposit and cleaning charge from renters, and as another commenter said, clear it with the condo board.

  1. Ryan said at 6:17 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    Sites like Airbnb.com and Corporatehousingbyowner.com are great if you the owner actually have the time to screen the prospective renter (credit, employment & income verification and rental history inquiry).  Thereafter, management is an additional challenge in itself, especially if you aren’t in the area to service maintenance requests, rental payments and invoicing, etc.  Marketing is also included and fees are not charged to the owner unless the property is filled by a qualified individual.  There are companies like Attache Corporate Housing that specialize in furnished rentals while a homeowner is away.

    Another tip: Be sure to check the covenants your building has in place per your HOA.  Sometimes they restrict the rental terms allowed.  The predominance of communities allow 30 day terms, while some require a 6 month minimum.  Hope this helps. 

  1. Elizabeth Blakeslee said at 6:59 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    Ryan (above) makes a great point about checking your documents, although I would say few buildings allow 30 day terms.  Many condos/coops/hoas have rental restrictions for various reasons.  Obviously, too many rentals makes mortgage lending in a building difficult.  There are security concerns with strangers coming and going, as opposed to residents who have a vested interest in the building. I would not want my next door neighbor doing this. Would your board consider your short term rental situation a commercial use and is that prohibited?  Are there zoning restrictions?  Are you required to get a Basic Business License from DC?

  1. Scott said at 7:04 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    Airbnb.com is supposed to compete for short-term rentals—basically competing against hotels. Someone staying at a hotel for a couple days would expect to provide credit, employment & income verification and rental history inquiry; nor would someone attempting to use airbnb.com for a similar short stay. 

    Airbnb.com does offer some kind of guarantees to renters and rentees as the company was burned fairly publicly eariler this year.


  1. Scott said at 7:06 pm on Tuesday December 6, 2011:

    sorry this part should read

    ..Someone staying at a hotel for a couple days would **not** expect…

  1. Kristin said at 3:13 pm on Tuesday December 20, 2011:

    I’ve used AirBnB dozens of times and have made a nice profit from doing so.  No bad experiences to date.  I guess I should consider myself lucky based on one of the previous comments here.

    AirBnB is great, but better suited if you offer your condo furnished/turnkey, meaning EVERYTHING included.  It’s a “hotel alternative” if you will and while I do get many short term bookings, I’ve had a good number of 30-90 day+ stays. 

    What it really comes down to is “who are you targeting”?  Are you looking to have those on vacation or traveling for work to stay in your condo?  OR, are you looking for a long term renter?  If it’s the first, yep, you better check those by laws and also consider the time and attention that this sort of set up requires.  Cleaning between each stay, repairing items accidentally broken, having guests show up early, meeting them to issue them keys and collect them when they depart, taking the risk of people you don’t know staying at your place (of course someone staying for a few days will not undergo a credit/employment check)...the list goes on.

    If it’s the 2nd, then I’d suggest Attache if you decide to offer your condo as “furnished/turnkey”.  They don’t rent out unfurnished space as far as I know, BUT they do at least manage your turnkey apt and those checking in for you. 

    If you want to market it as unfurnished and you are looking for a long term renter, I’d suggest Urban Igloo.  They are based in DC and if you give them a call, ask for Debbie.  She will work with you to find quality renters and will show your unit on your behalf.

    AirBnB, I’d have to say, is GREAT. They act as the middle man protecting the lister and the person booking’s privacy.  You never see a credit card # and the money is guaranteed as AirBnB collects it upfront and deposits it into your account (other payout options available) via ACH once the guest checks in.  They also have liability insurance protecting those listing their apt, condo, etc.  The site is extremely user friendly and everything is so easy to track.  Customer support is always available via email OR phone and they are surprisingly quick, for a web based service provider, to get back. 

    All in all, out of the 5 listings I’ve had on there for the past year now, AirBnB shows I’ve made over 100K so far.

    It’s free to register and list your space so I would suggest (after getting the green light from the condo assoc) to at least try it out.  I’ve had a great experience and from what I’ve made so far, I can’t complain at all.

  1. BJ said at 1:37 pm on Sunday February 12, 2012:

    Airbnb is excellent… I been doing it over 4 months and I live in the Atlanta area. But like many have said if you have an HOA you might want to check the bylaws first. I was making about $3k a month off my unit but I had to pull it off because my HOA found out and I didn’t have approval. But Airbnb is fantastic…

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