Peer-to-peer travel accommodation options took a blow when a great many rental listings on sites like Airbnb were deemed illegal in New York City*, in violation of hotel law, giving rise to lots of angry travelers and renters. However, New York City isn't alone in restricting or even limiting the peer hotel market. If you plan on offering a room to tourists in your city anytime soon, you may want to consider the following...
1. Insurance: Depending on whether you rent or own your home, and the limits on your policy, you may need additional insurance coverage for any property that may be damaged while a guest is staying with you. You should also ask your agent about adding insurance for personal liability in case someone becomes injured, sick or even dies while in your home. 2. Local Permits:
Many cities and counties have strict permitting requirements for tourist occupancy in their statutes. Contact your city hall and ask if you will need a "tourist occupancy permit" for your dwelling. Many small cities won't have anything like this in place, but don't be surprised to find out you need to pay a small fee for a permit in larger cities for any stays longer than 7 to 10 days.
It's important you factor in cleaning costs onto your rental list. Remember you are hosting someone, so they may request or even expect their sheets be turned down, and toilets polished clean. If you plan on regular guests, you will save time, stress, and even money by contracting out cleaning services.
* This falls under the illegal hotels law, with rentals listing whole apartments without the owner on site for stays shorter than 30 days as currently illegal; individual rooms are still permitted.
(Photo Credit: Tom Godber via Flickr's Creative Commons and Elizabeth Giorgi)