New Zealand tenants get fined for listing on Airbnb without permission

If you take a look around you, you will more than likely notice that there are number of people who you would expect to be living in their own home are actually renting. The current housing situation especially in Auckland has made that much more difficult for first home buyers to realise the dream of owning a home.

Besides having the dream of home ownership being far out of reach, many a Kiwi are finding it difficult to get by from day to day. The cause of this may be varied and may include factors such as wages not keeping up with the cost of living or high rental prices in centres such as Auckland and Wellington.

Some people are finding it more difficult than others to meet their living costs and have been forced to dive into their KiwiSaver accounts (via a financial hardship application) in order to make ends meet. This is a sad state of affairs because those funds are your retirement nest egg which should be added to and grown on a regular basis and not the opposite.

With the normal 9 to 5 only just or not even meeting the needs of a number households, some are taking it upon themselves to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit. This has led some to joining the sharing economy, signed up as Airbnb hosts, cleaned up a spare room that has been lying idle and opened up their home to people looking for temporary accomodation.

When stuck in a bit of situation and finding it hard to make ends meet, options of making a little extra money such as Airbnb can be very tempting. But, if you are a renter, it may be easier said than done. Depending on your lease agreement, signing up as a host may see you being in breach of the agreement.

Last year, a Wellington couple decided to list the rental property that they we living in on Airbnb. They over a period of two months made a profit of $1568. However, before they embarked on their hosting journey, they did not get the written consent they needed in order to sublet the property.

The owners found out about their property being listed in Airbnb and they weren’t happy about it at all. They took the matter to the the Tenancy Tribunal resulting in the couple having to pay the owners $1000 for mental distress and exemplary damages (punitive damages) of $300 (read the full article here).


At the end of the day, the renting couple walked away with an extra $268 in their pocket, the hassle of having to go through the tribunal process, a broken relationship with the owners of the property and a damaged reputation. As far as reputation goes, this may not have had a huge impact on them as the couple went on to live in a house they had just bought.

If the couple happened to continue renting and were looking for a new place to stay, they more than likely would not have received a glowing reference to support an application. Having that kind of a mark on your reputation in a competitive rental market can make it even more difficult to get in

As tempting as it may be, if you are renting, don’t just go ahead and list a space on Airbnb without permission and hope you don’t get caught. If, your tenancy agreement allows you to do so, then by all means, list to your hearts content. If it doesn’t and you really want to give it a go, get in touch with your landlord first, have a chat about it and if they agree to your request, get written consent.

Are you a renter moonlighting as an Airbnb host? How is your experience going and how did you get permission to become a host?

, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply