So, you’re looking to make extra money from your apartment? Great! There are many creative ways to earn money from your apartment that can help subsidise the cost of your rent. Subletting an apartment or renting out your parking space are great sources of additional income that are flexible and not too time-consuming.
But, there are lots of things to consider before listing your apartment on a site and booking in your first renters. Firstly, figure out if you are actually allowed to rent out your property or parking space, research local laws and the insurance implications associated with renting.
Landlord or a tenant, there are several things to consider when looking at renting your apartment. In this article, we answer the most common questions renters are too afraid to ask their landlord.
“Renting out a room or unit on a platform like Airbnb is a great way to generate extra income. Short term rentals especially can allow you to command high rents. This was in fact my own first step to becoming a real estate investor. But as with managing any kind of real estate, if you want to be successful you need to treat it as a business. This means understanding that tenants are customers, ensuring you are in compliance with local rules and regulations, and employing the right tools and software to help you achieve your financial goals.” – Logan Ransley, Co-Founder of Landlord Studio.
Table of Contents
Can I Airbnb my apartment?
The average Airbnb host in the US earns $9,600 annually by renting their apartments. Before you start mentally spending that extra income, there are many factors that go into renting on Airbnb, and things to be mindful of once you start listing your apartment and having guests to stay.
Keeping track of how much you earn from Airbnb is important, as the money you earn as a Host on Airbnb is considered taxable income. This means it may be subject to different taxes like rental tax, income tax or GST. Remember that tax forms for US are due by 15 October each tax year.
There are lots of ‘rules’ around who can rent out their apartments and what type of properties can be listed. Whether you’re subletting or own the property, you will still need to consider things like insurance and mortgage providers, yours or your landlords, and whether you are allowed to list your apartment for rental.
Most insurers don’t cover those renting out rooms or their home as standard. So, you will need to get in touch with them before you even think about listing your property. Should you risk doing it without asking your insurance? Absolutely not.
Renting out even just a room in your property without telling your insurer could invalidate your home cover permanently – including when you don’t have guests staying. If you sublet a room without telling your landlord, it also invalidates their insurance, and even their mortgage agreement. Breaking the rules or not making landlords or lenders aware of your plans, could mean you get a worse rate, a large additional fee or, in worst case scenarios, even repossession.
First things first, you will need to check with your Landlord. In the US, a tenant cannot enter into a sublease without the written consent of the landlord. So, let’s look at how to go about subleasing your apartment.
Can I sublease my apartment?
Subleasing, or subletting, is an arrangement where a tenant rents out a room or space to someone who isn’t listed on the official lease or contract. While it’s legal in America, the landlord must give their written permission, and sometimes the leasing contract may need to be updated.
Social housing usually has rules that prohibit subletting without permission Check with your housing authority or housing association if you live in a social housing community and are interested in becoming a Host.
You should have a copy of your leasing agreement. Have a read through it and see if there is any information already in it about subleasing, or limits to overnight guests. If you can’t see any details, you will have to approach them.
The best way to address subleasing on Airbnb with your landlord is, to be honest, and make sure you explain that you haven’t done it yet, and stress you want to do things properly by asking for permission first. Landlords are usually looking at how to get more income, so if you predict that your apartment may bring in quite a high income, you could suggest sharing a percentage of the money you make or offer to pay more rent.
Keeping your landlord in the loop with all decisions or changes to the Airbnb policies and having open communication with them throughout the whole Airbnb journey will help to protect you and them.
Once you have written permission to sublease your apartment on Airbnb, it’s time to start the process of listing. Before uploading your apartment, even if you think you have nothing ‘of value’ to steal, seriously consider what to do with your personal belongings. Contents insurance may not cover your personal belongings if you choose to rent out your space.
This doesn’t mean stripping your property of all furnishings or nicknacks. The beauty of Airbnbs, and a big selling point for guests choosing to stay in an apartment over a hotel, is staying in a comfortable space with personality.
Kit out your apartment with renter friendly furnishings and flashes of personality in art, decor and finishing touches. Prioritise hardwearing materials and sturdy structures to avoid having to replace them, adding extra admin and time to your management.
See how popular properties are decorating their places to see what amenities potential guests want, like coffee machines. Consider what is unique to your apartment and play into that. Is it full of period charm, or modern chic? Go with the theme in your decor and use it as a selling point.
As for your personal precious possessions, consider using a self-storage unit that’s in a convenient location and allows you easy access to your stored items. This means you can simply grab your belongings when you aren’t renting the apartment, and fill it with your favourite things. Time to vacate again? Drop them back at the storage facility – simple!
When listing your property, you will need to categorise your property based on location, property type, number of rooms and amenities. Then, it’s time for you to describe your pad. This is where you can really point out all the USPs of your apartment and why they should choose to stay at your Airbnb. Again, look at the kind of words used by potential competitors. Point out nearby tourist attractions, vicinity to public transport links or a great local restaurant.
Alongside your written description, you’ll need some beautiful pictures to showcase your apartment. Make sure they’re bright, light and feature all the best bits of your apartment. Want to level up your visuals and separate yourself from other listings on Airbnb? Invest in proptech like 3D floor plans to give potential guests a deeper understanding of the flow and exact layout of your apartment. When a guest knows exactly what they are getting for their money, you’ll likely see an increase in bookings and positive reviews following their stay.
A high-quality, detailed and to scale floor plan can help potential guests visualise their stay before they’ve arrived. It can also give a more accurate sense of size and space that can be miscommunicated in photographs. You could always share these with, or sell them on to your landlord in the event they want to sell their property in the future.
Makes thousands from your unused garage, storage cage or car space
To date, we’ve helped Spacer hosts make over $25 million from space that was gathering dust. If you’ve got space to spare, you can list it for free on our site in less than 5 minutes! Help locals in your neighbourhood store their documents, furniture or even cars and make up to $450 a month.
Can I rent out my parking space?
Many properties in the US have parking. But, with 289.5 million motor vehicles on the road, an increase of 1.7% from 2019 to 2021, there may be more demand for parking spaces. Have a parking space that you don’t use? Rent it out!
On average, you can make between $200 and $450 a month by renting out a parking space on Spacer, depending on your location and size of parking space. Tourist spots, holiday destinations and built up cities may see more of a demand for rented parking.
Now, are you allowed to rent out your parking space? If your parking space comes as part of your tenancy agreement, you will need to check with your landlord whether you are allowed to rent this out. Much like subleasing your apartment, the best place to start is looking at your lease.
Ask for permission, and if granted, get this in writing, or amended into your agreement. Again, you may be able to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement with your landlord. If you aren’t using the parking space, suggest your landlord directly leases it out, with a rent reduction for you. Or split the income from renting out the space. Overall, ensure that you are honest with your landlord before attempting to rent out a parking space to avoid any future trouble or issues with your tenancy.
Other ways to make money from your apartment
Don’t feel like you want to commit to subletting your entire apartment all the time? How about renting out an office space, or offering your apartment as a movie set! Think about how much of your apartment you want to be accessible, and for how long.
Ask yourself, Do you want to share your living space, kitchen and bathroom with people on a regular basis, or do you want to occasionally vacate the property to earn some extra cash?
If you have a self contained room, like a bedroom with an en suite, this could be converted into an office that is rented out by the day, week or month. Or, if you’re out at work all day, someone else could use your home office using a site like Codi, while you earn a little extra money!
Got great light, lots of space, stand out period features or striking contemporary decor? You could list your property as a set for films, television or advertisements. You could hire your home out for as little as half a day for a photography shoot or for three-months for a TV series contract.
Once again, it is important to check with your landlord if you are allowed to rent out part of your property, and if there are any implications with commercial filming or photography. You never know, they may even be flattered that their home is worthy of being a film set.
There are so many out-of-the-box ways to help you earn an extra income and make your apartment more affordable. As long as you research local laws, get written permission from your landlord and ensure you safely rent out your apartment, it can be a really great side hustle.
Making sure that you highlight all the USPs of your property in writing, images and even 3D floor plans will help to secure guests when you want, for however long you want. Be sure to also consider office rental or parking space letting to maximise your earning potential. Find out more about becoming a host and earning up to $450 a month through Spacer here.