Homeowners thinking about renting out their principal residence for a short-term commercial venture should be very mindful of possible consequences beyond the opportunity to generate some income.
Although extended vacations and short-term job transfers present an opportunity, the benefits should be weighed against the risks; particularly if the homeowner does not personally know the temporary tenant.
Historically, well established third-party companies that represented the renter or the owner would take care of the details, including screening prospective clients, setting rates, securing payment, providing adequate insurance (for both parties), and ensuring that the landlord is complying with municipal bylaws. Today, cyber-companies are entering regional markets and connecting renters to international clientele. In this less secure cyber-world, homeowners must be especially careful about making arrangements.
It’s unfortunate that stories about “tenants” trashing homes, sub-letting to others, or refusing to leave at the end of the rental period are true. So, if you intend to rent your property to strangers, you should know all the laws that are in effect, get a thorough background check on your renters, ensure your payment is secured through an iron-clad third party arrangement, enter into a formal lease and make sure adequate insurance is in place.