Calling all Airbnb hosts

We’re interested in talking to any Airbnb hosts. In particular, we’d love to hear your thoughts about:

  • How you came to be doing Airbnb
  • Your overall experience of Airbnb hosting
  • If you have had any bad experiences with guests, and how you now guard against these
  • Whether you’ve claimed against Airbnb’s Host Guarantee or other landlord insurance
  • How you go about maintenance and repairs

Feel free to share your experience in the comments below, or if you would prefer to talk privately, please email to arrange a time to discuss.


Very Interested in this topic as anecdotally i’m being told increasing number of landlords are removing their properties from longterm rentals and putting them to AirBnB for greater returns


While I’m not an Airbnb host, I have had a lodger in my front room since July of last year, and mindful of my obligation to alert my insurers of any material change to the property they were insuring (and bracing myself for some increase in my premium) I popped into the local office.

The woman on the counter asked me if I had formally leased the room to my lodger, and I said no. She asked if the arrangement could be characterised as being “like Airbnb”, because if it could they (my insurers) “didn’t want to know about it”. I swiftly decided my arrangement was indeed “like Airbnb”!

I also contacted my local Revenue Office in case I was liable for Land Tax. Once again, the news was good. So long as I wasn’t renting out a granny flat (or any part of the house with self-contained amenities including cooking facilities), so long as I kept “bumping into my lodger in the kitchen”, I would not be liable for Land Tax. It seems pretty clear this would apply to Airbnb as well.

I did get some bad news from the ATO, though. I had spent a bit of money repairing the front room to make it fit for habitation, and I assumed this would be deductible from the rental income. No such luck – repairs are only deductible if you are repairing damage (or wear and tear over a reasonable length of time) attributable to the lodger/tenant. What I was repairing was damage done (by a leaking roof, mostly) while the room was not being let out (or available for letting), and thus the costs of those repairs were not deductible.

On the other hand, the new carpet I had laid in the front room could be depreciated, that is, I could get a percentage of its cost deducted from my taxable income each year over its life. The same applied to new furniture, appliances etc acquired for the common areas shared with my lodger, but only the percentage attributable to his share, so a percentage of a percentage.

A couple of useful PDFs can be downloaded from the ATO site – I’d give you the links, but Choice bounces posts with links embedded! :wink:


FWIW Choice does not bounce posts with links, but it could be the case you have not attained a ‘trust level’ to use them. A quick check is if you look at the posting window - if you see a chain-link icon to the right of the italic you can post links via it, and at some point links can be inserted inline and previews will display if available.

As an example, here is the ATO guide to depreciating assets.

I am reminded there is a tutorial in your original Welcome email, should you still have it. Choice has already been asked to add a similar tutorial/help facility on the menus.


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@tndkemp While it has been argued that Airbnb reduces housing stock, the opposite can also be argued. That is, if people are opening up rooms or spare space in their homes which was previously unused, this actually increases housing stock.

In all my interviews with landlords as part of user research for our Rentwell offering, none have considered converting their rental properties for short-term rental through Airbnb. The landlords I spoke to were not motivated by greater short-term returns, they simply wanted stable, long-term tenancies that would help them pay off the mortgage on the property.

I am wondering whether Airbnb hosts are unlikely to have been landlords of long-term rental properties, but rather are making use of previously unused spare space in their homes specifically for Airbnb, or have invested with the intention of providing short-term accommodation only.

@gregcarman When you decided to take in a lodger, did you ever consider doing Airbnb? Why or why not?

I am also wondering why your insurer did not want to know about your lodger. Is your lodger covered by your building and contents insurance? Or did you have to take out separate landlord insurance?

All your comments are valid, yet from my circle of contacts I know of two landlords that have put their formerly rented apartments to AirBNB because as was explained to me they have more than doubled their return and there is less actual usage time of the accomodation.
One explained to me that although there were some things to watch out for like insurance, council conditions etc this landlord told me he found the wear and tear on the apartment was less than when had previously been full time rented.

I was considering Airbnb, without ever getting down to the nitty-gritty of the costs and rewards in their system, or indeed of any similar “sharing economy” platform for property rentals, when a long-standing family friend was in need of a place to stay in the wake of the breakup of his marriage and his banishment from his home – he became my lodger.

I had some advice from friends who had let out a number of rooms in their renovated and extended house, including suggesting I go onto a couple of websites where places in share houses and rooms to rent are both sought by would-be lodgers/sharers (many of them university students) and offered by head-lessees/landlords, to get an idea of how much I should charge.

I don’t know why my insurer takes the attitude they do towards Airbnb-like arrangements – certainly the implication was that were I to have entered into a formal rental agreement they would have required some change to my insurance policies with them.

Yes, it seems my lodger is covered by just the standard building and contents insurance policy, just as a guest would be, and no, I didn’t have to take out separate landlord insurance, but it seems likely this was only because I was prepared to say that my arrangements were “like Airbnb”.

I was counting my lucky stars and so while I was curious to know more, I figured I should quit while I was ahead!

One advantage for me of having someone I know well as a long-term lodger is that when I have to travel away for work I am not leaving the house unoccupied – perhaps my insurer sees this as a similar advantage when it comes to risks of break-ins or damage from burst pipes and the like.

It certainly sounds like there are clear upsides to offering short-term versus long-term accommodation. Do you think your contacts might ever go back to offering long-term rental? It would be great to hear from them directly if you can get them onto the Choice Community forum! Otherwise, feel free to pass on my contact details if they are willing to speak privately. I’m wondering what the downsides might be: more work? And would they consider offering long-term rental again if they had a similar platform to Airbnb? Or does the increased return outweigh all the negatives?

Would you have considered taking in a lodger regardless of your friend’s situation? It sounds as though you are happy to keep the arrangement informal because you already know him. But would that still be the case if it was someone you did not know, which in a sense is more “Airbnb-like” - that is, sharing with strangers.

They are not in my circle of friends, just contacts, I just had met them and had a discussion with them at a function involving some property investors so I cannot add any further info other than neither seem interested in long term rentals.

Certainly. In fact, my thoughts about putting two or even three lodgers into both the master (front) bedroom and the middle bedroom – the back bedroom is mine – pre-date my friend getting the boot from his marital home.

I was certainly thinking more in terms of having a longer-term lodger or lodgers than would be normal with Airbnb, and also thinking about friends of friends, that is, lodgers who would be strangers to me but who would come vouched-for by someone I knew.

The reason the middle bedroom hasn’t been let out yet is that it is functioning as a storeroom for all the fixtures and fittings which await my glacial progress on renovating the kitchen, on transforming part of the laundry into a second bathroom, and on transforming the downstairs storeroom into a second laundry and second toilet.

Anyway, these are all changes I feel need to be made before taking in another lodger, especially should they turn out to be female.

So do you think you might have a more formal arrangement for your future lodgers such as a lease agreement? And if so, would you use an agent? Or would you be interested in something similar to the Airbnb platform, but for long-term rentals where you could list your property, communicate, negotiate with, and vet prospective lodgers, as well as create a lease - all of which is stored and archived on the platform?

Possibly, although I would need to consider the consequences for insurances, which is kind of where I came in on this thread. I suspect that, a bit like employing someone full-time as distinct from casual, there are legal ramifications to be considered as well.

But I doubt I would use an agent – I can’t see how they would earn their commission.

As for some sort of long-term-Airbnb in this context, their on-line lease would possibly be a good place to start – I haven’t looked at it because it hasn’t been relevant to my current arrangements, not because I think it wouldn’t be of any use to me in other circumstances. And again there’s the issue of just how Airbnb would earn their “commission”, of whether the bottom line with them would end up being favourable to me.

A lot of this comes down to avoiding the nightmare of a bad tenant – I have a lifetime of cautionary tales from family and friends to keep me awake at night as I head ever deeper into my seventh decade, with this house as just about my only asset and renting out the two spare bedrooms my only chance to live comfortably in retirement (my superannuation barely breaks the $40k mark).

I was introduced to AirBnB by my daughter when we travelled through the UK and Ireland. I loved the ability to speak to the ‘locals’, get great travel advice from them, it was much cheaper than staying in hotels and Bed and Breakfasts. The accommodation standard was generally very good too, the only issue I had was sometimes I had to share a bathroom with the host or other guests.

On my return to Tasmania I became an AirBnB host myself and commenced doing this in January 2017. I provide one spare bedroom in my home plus an ensuite and full run of the house for my guests.

I retired in April this year and AirBnB is an important contributor to financing my retirement. I also have a little super and a part pension.

I have never had a bad experience with AirBnB as a host or a guest. One has to remember you are a guest in someone’s home and their home is their castle so you take what you get. You can’t always expect five star luxury but my accommodation has always been to a good acceptable standard. Cleanliness is important to me and I have encountered the odd ‘borderline’ situation when travelling but if I had doubts I can always cancel and contact AirBnB for a refund.

My insurer treats my AirBnB as if I have a granny flat or elderly relative living with me, no premium increase. I have not had to claim on the AirBnB Host Guarantee or my own insurance but on AirBnB forums overseas I must admit I have seen a few horror stories and these mostly relate to absentee hosts who rent out their apartments and mostly never even meet their guests.
My situation is different, I vet my guests through the AirBnB system and if I met someone at the front door I didn’t like the look of I would not let them in. The AirBnB system allows you to decline guests if you wish. Its your house, you decide who comes in. eg. I decline anyone who requests to book who has no host reviews or who has just joined.

Through the AirBnB web site I can choose what days I can accept bookings, I set my own price and even have the facility to block off the day before a guest arrives and the day after so I am not rushing around preparing for the next guest.

Maintenance is not an issue for me and I find all guests very mindful they are in someones home and they need to be considerate of the house.

AirBnb is a good system, and I intend to use it next year when I spend two months in the US.

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Hi Jack, thank you for responding so comprehensively about your experience with Airbnb. Did you ever rent out the spare bedroom on a long-term basis prior to doing Airbnb? If you weren’t doing Airbnb, would you consider taking in a tenant / lodger? Why or why not? I’d like to understand whether you came to Airbnb with experience as a landlord.