Tenant Airbnb ventures

Jane asks:
(updated on Friday, July 21st 2017)

My tenants are under a residential fixed term tenancy agreement of one year. I recently found out they are using the premises for Airbnb with 26 bookings over a two month period.

The premises are a two bedroom dual key. There is a stipulation of a maximum of four people occupation which they would not be breaching. But is it a breach of their agreement to be using the premises as a commercial venture?


Our Experts Answer:

This is a grey area, as are many areas of law where the internet has created new business models. The tenant must ensure that the rental home is occupied principally for residential purposes under the Residential Tenancies Act.

So if the tenants are staying elsewhere while they rent the entire home to Airbnb guests they may be in breach of the law. But if they are living there while renting private or shared rooms to Airbnb guests they may be within their rights - as long as they do not have more people occupying the rental home than the tenancy agreement allows.

It’s similar to the situation where the tenant named on the lease can get in paying flatmates or boarders – as long as the rental house is being used primarily for residential purposes not commercial activities.

However, to date, the Tenancy Tribunal has yet to rule on an Airbnb question.

You should first tell your tenants how you think they are in breach of their tenancy agreement by sending them a “14-day notice to remedy”. If this does not resolve the dispute, you could ask the Tenancy Tribunal to decide if the tenants are in breach. You can find out about the process at www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes.





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