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  1. #1

    Default Renting a Room from a Landlord Who is Renting Other Rooms on Airbnb

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Texas

    I signed a 6-mo. lease for a room in a house lived-in by the owner. The lease was basic, with no mention of guests. It's just he and I living in the house normally.

    Recently my landlord/roommate has started hosting several Air BnB (a website-based short-term rental company) and couchsurfing.com guests per week. He makes ~$75 per room rented per night(there's a spare bedroom and a guest "shed" in the backyard, and occasionally he rents out his room as well).

    This has gotten to be a little much for me to handle. I haven't talked to him yet, as I would rather have some legal info to back me up if it comes down to that.

    My issues are: Multiple strangers stay at our house every week. They are often up late and early, waking me up and making a lot of noise. They use our internet (it's slow already, right now 10!! devices are connected to our wireless router). They use our water and electricity, which raises the prices, and the cost is NOT included in rent. They take up the bathroom. They lounge around in our living room.

    I receive ZERO compensation for these guests, who most often (excluding couch-surfers) pay him to stay here. I would like this to change. I feel that at least, I should not have to pay utilities, and at most, I should either get reduced rent, or be able to break my lease and move out.

    I have searched the internet for legal precedents regarding air bnb and have yet to find any information.

    Am I legally entitled to compensation? Am I legally entitled to break my lease? Is it legal for him to do this in the first place?

    Thanks for your time!

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Unless you have a lease that gives you exclusive rights, he's free to rent out to other boarders as far as the local law permits (I suspect the guest cottage and depending on where you are, the ad-hoc BnB is likely to be in violation of zoning other laws, however much of Texas is still the wild west and unregulated).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Toledo, OH
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Am I legally entitled to compensation?
    Absolutely not. You do not own the property, you're merely renting a room. Why would you think you are entitled to compensation for use of property you do not own?

    Am I legally entitled to break my lease?
    Only if your lease explicitly states that you're going to be the only tenant in the house.

    Is it legal for him to do this in the first place?
    Just as legal as it is for him to rent a room to you.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    So it doesn't matter that they're driving up the cost of utilities that I have to pay for and using my internet which becomes essentially useless and living in the house I pay rent in, while increasing the risk that my property is damaged or stolen?

    That's why I think i'm entitled to compensation, which should be painfully obvious to anyone who is NOT incredibly pretentious. Thanks for being an ass about it.

    Also, I have found out that is illegal to provide a short-term rental (less than 30 days) in Austin without obtaining a $285 permit and getting your house inspected.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Aw, poor baby, you didn't get sympathy for your indignation, so you're increasing your tantrum. How adorable! There are risks you take when you rent a room in someone else's house, and you've now learned about them the hard way. Congratulations. Next time you'll know to rent your own apartment so you can have things in a way that suits you, rather than the homeowner.

    Your landlord's failure to obtain a permit for his short term guests does not invalidate your lease. If you leave early and don't pay through the term of your lease, he can take you to court, and he WILL prevail, which will trash your credit and make it harder for you to obtain rental housing elsewhere. Kicking your feet and holding your breath at the judge the way you're doing here won't help you.

    Life is hard, kid, buy a freakin' helmet.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  6. #6
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    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Not to be Capt. Obvious but you did not say specifically Austin. Did you expect everyone to research laws for every city in Texas prior to responding?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Recently my landlord/roommate
    make no mistake. He is your landlord, not your roommate.

    but here is a simple way to do a something

    unless he has a commercial internet service, I do not know a single provider that allows commercialization of a residential service. His ISP will want their cut of the action. Report it to them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    unless he has a commercial internet service, I do not know a single provider that allows commercialization of a residential service. His ISP will want their cut of the action. Report it to them.
    Unless he's charging the guests extra for internet access, they're not going to care.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    Unless he's charging the guests extra for internet access, they're not going to care.
    I know mine would. That is commercial use. When an ISP sells you service it is based upon a typical users data flow. Renting out rooms for the purpose of pimping out your residential service internet is almost assuredly against the contract between the ISP and customer. They know if there is an unusual amount of traffic. All they need to be told it is due to commercial usage.


    here is the TOS for mine regarding what would pertain to this situation:



    Network and usage restrictions

    • use the Service for any purpose other than personal and non-commercial residential use (except for your individual use for telecommuting);
    • use the Service for operation as an Internet service provider or for any business, other legal entity, or organization purpose (whether or not for profit);
    • restrict, inhibit, or otherwise interfere, regardless of intent, purpose or knowledge, with the ability of any other person to use or enjoy the Service (except for tools for safety and security functions such as parental controls, for example), including, without limitation, posting or transmitting any information or software which contains a worm, virus, or other harmful feature, or
    • impede others' ability to use, send, or retrieve information;
    • restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or otherwise disrupt or cause a performance degradation,
      regardless of intent, purpose or knowledge, to the Service or any [provider's]
      host, server, backbone network, node or service, or otherwise cause a performance degradation
      to any[provider] facilities used to deliver the Service;
    • resell the Service or otherwise make available to anyone outside the Premises the ability to use
      the Service (for example, through WiFi or other methods of networking), in whole or in part,
      directly or indirectly, with the sole exception of your use of[provider]-provided WiFi service in
      accordance with its then-current terms and policies;
    • connect the[provider] Equipment to any computer outside of your Premises;
    • interfere with computer networking or telecommunications service to any user, host or network,
      including, without limitation, denial of service attacks, flooding of a network, overloading a service,
      improper seizing and abusing operator privileges, and attempts to “crash” a host; or
    • access and use the Service with anything other than a dynamic Internet Protocol (“IP”)
      address that adheres to the dynamic host configuration protocol (“DHCP”). You may not configure
      the Service or any related equipment to access or use a static IP address or use any protocol
      other than DHCP unless you are subject to a Service plan that expressly permits you to do so.
    and that bolded section is exactly what the guy is doing.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Air Bnb Guests Making Money for Landlord, I Get Zero Compensation

    Renting out rooms for the purpose of pimping out your residential service internet is almost assuredly against the contract between the ISP and customer.
    Well, that's the thing. He's not renting out rooms for the purpose of promoting his internet service. He's just renting out rooms, and giving the wireless password to his guests. He's not offering service as part of a business (you're a host with AirBnB, not a separate business entity).

    One of my clients is a small regional ISP, with a similar clause in their TOS. The clause is there to prevent you from opening an actual business - say a call center, for example - that is wholly dependent on that internet connection, or from calling yourself an ISP and re-selling bandwidth. The most that happens if a residential customer is using a lot of bandwidth is that they hit their bandwidth cap for the month and they get slapped with additional charges for every 5GB over their cap. If they do it too many times in a row, they'll get a call encouraging them to upgrade their service.

    The OP's internet problem can be easily solved by his landlord upgrading to a better tier of service. If it can't handle 10 devices connected at once - the minimum number of devices connected when my whole family is home! - it's a low tier service.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

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