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How to Sublease an Apartment and Turn It Into an Airbnb

A photo of a Bedroom Interior Setup

Quick Answer

To sublease your apartment on Airbnb, review your lease and local laws, obtain necessary permissions, prepare your space for guests, create a compelling listing, set competitive prices, communicate effectively with guests, maintain cleanliness, and reinvest in your apartment to maximize earnings while ensuring compliance and guest satisfaction.


Subletting your apartment and turning it into an Airbnb rental can be a lucrative way to generate extra income. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process step-by-step, covering everything from understanding the legalities to optimizing your listing for maximum occupancy and profitability.

Understanding the Legalities of Subletting

Before you start subletting your apartment on Airbnb, it's crucial to ensure that you're legally allowed to do so. The first step is to carefully review your lease agreement, paying close attention to any clauses that mention subletting or short-term rentals. Some leases explicitly prohibit subletting, while others may require written permission from your landlord.

Reviewing Your Lease Agreement

Take the time to thoroughly read through your lease, highlighting any sections that discuss subletting, subleasing, or short-term rentals. If your lease is unclear or you're unsure about certain clauses, consider consulting with a local tenants' rights organization or a real estate attorney who can help you interpret the language and understand your rights and obligations as a tenant.

Researching Local and State Laws

In addition to your lease agreement, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the subletting laws in your city and state. These laws can vary widely, with some cities having strict regulations around short-term rentals while others are more lenient. For example, some cities require hosts to obtain a permit or license before subletting their apartment on Airbnb, while others may have zoning restrictions that limit short-term rentals to certain areas.

To research your local laws, start by visiting your city's housing or building department website, where you may find information on subletting regulations and requirements. You can also contact your local Airbnb host community or search online for resources specific to your area.

Obtaining Written Permission

If your lease allows subletting with your landlord's approval or your local laws require it, you'll need to obtain written permission before proceeding. Schedule a meeting with your landlord to discuss your plans, emphasizing how you'll ensure that your sublet will be a responsible and respectful tenant.

Be prepared to address your landlord's concerns, such as potential damage to the property or noise complaints from neighbors. You may want to offer to pay an additional security deposit or agree to certain terms, such as limiting the number of guests or the length of stays.

Understanding Your Responsibilities

As a sublandlord, you'll be taking on certain responsibilities and liabilities that your landlord typically handles. These may include collecting rent, handling maintenance and repairs, and dealing with any issues that arise with your subtenants.

Make sure you clearly understand your obligations and are prepared to handle them. You may want to create a written sublease agreement that outlines the terms of the sublet, including rent, duration, and any specific rules or expectations.

By thoroughly researching the legalities of subletting and taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance, you can protect yourself and your property while creating a successful Airbnb sublet.

Preparing Your Apartment for Subletting

Before you can start subletting your apartment on Airbnb, it's essential to ensure that your space is clean, well-maintained, and ready to welcome guests. A thorough deep cleaning is the first step in preparing your apartment for short-term rentals. This involves decluttering, organizing, and sanitizing every room to create a fresh and inviting atmosphere.

Decluttering and Deep Cleaning

Go through each room and remove any unnecessary items, such as personal belongings, excess furniture, or clutter. Donate, sell, or store these items elsewhere to create a more spacious and neutral environment. Once you've decluttered, thoroughly clean the entire apartment, paying special attention to high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Clean and disinfect surfaces, floors, and fixtures to ensure a spotless and hygienic space for your guests.

Making Necessary Repairs and Upgrades

Take a critical look at your apartment and identify any areas that need repairs or upgrades. Fix leaky faucets, replace burnt-out light bulbs, and address any other maintenance issues that could negatively impact your guests' experience. Consider making small upgrades, such as adding fresh paint, updating hardware, or installing new light fixtures, to enhance the overall appeal of your space.

Furnishing for Short-Term Rentals

When furnishing your apartment for short-term rentals, focus on creating a comfortable and functional space that caters to a wide range of guests. Provide high-quality, durable furniture that can withstand frequent use, such as a comfortable bed, a dining table and chairs, and a cozy living room couch or sofa bed. Ensure that your guests have access to essential amenities, like fresh linens, towels, and basic kitchen supplies.

Ensuring Safety Features are in Place

The safety of your guests should be a top priority when preparing your apartment for subletting. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in appropriate locations, and ensure they are in working order. Provide a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location, and consider adding other safety features, such as a first-aid kit or emergency contact information. Clearly communicate any safety guidelines or procedures to your guests to help them feel secure during their stay.

Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere

Finally, focus on creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere that will make your guests feel at home. Add personal touches like fresh flowers, scented candles, or a welcome basket with local treats. Ensure that your apartment is well-lit and inviting, with comfortable textures and cozy elements like throw pillows and blankets. By putting effort into the ambiance of your space, you'll create a memorable experience that will encourage positive reviews and repeat bookings.

Setting Up Your Airbnb Listing

Once your apartment is ready for subletting, creating your Airbnb listing is time. This is your opportunity to showcase your space and attract potential guests, so it's essential to take the time to craft a compelling and informative listing.

Creating an Airbnb Account

To get started, visit the Airbnb website and create an account. You'll need to provide some basic information about yourself, such as your name, email address, and phone number. Once your account is set up, you can begin creating your listing.

Completing Your Profile

Before diving into your listing, take a moment to complete your Airbnb profile. This includes adding a profile picture, writing a brief bio, and verifying your identity. A complete and verified profile helps build trust with potential guests and can increase your chances of securing bookings.

Taking High-Quality Photos

High-quality photos are crucial for attracting guests to your Airbnb sublet. Use a good camera or smartphone to capture well-lit, clear images of your space. Highlight key features like the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area. Include photos of any unique amenities or selling points, like a balcony or a cozy reading nook.

When taking photos, ensure that your space is clean, tidy, and staged to look inviting. Avoid using blurry or low-quality images, as these can deter potential guests. Consider hiring a professional photographer if you want to ensure top-notch results.

Writing a Compelling Description

Your listing description is your chance to sell your space to potential guests. Start with a catchy headline highlighting your apartment's best features, such as its location, amenities, or unique character.

In the body of your description, provide a detailed overview of your space, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the apartment, and any notable features or amenities. Use descriptive language to paint a picture of the experience guests can expect, such as "wake up to sunlight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows" or "enjoy a morning cup of coffee on the private balcony."

Be sure to mention any house rules or restrictions, such as no smoking or no pets, to ensure that guests have clear expectations before booking.

Setting Competitive Pricing

Pricing your Airbnb sublet competitively is key to attracting guests and maximizing your income. You can use BNBCalc to research similar listings in your area to get a sense of the going rates for short-term rentals. Consider factors like your apartment's size, location, amenities, and time of year when setting your prices.

Airbnb offers a Smart Pricing tool that can automatically adjust your rates based on demand and other factors, which can help optimize your earnings. However, be sure to review the suggested prices and make adjustments as needed based on your specific circumstances.

Establishing House Rules and Guest Expectations

Clearly communicating your house rules and guest expectations is essential for ensuring a smooth and successful subletting experience. Include information about check-in and check-out times, noise levels, parking, and any other specific guidelines you want guests to follow.

You may also want to include information about your neighborhood, such as nearby attractions, restaurants, or public transportation options, to help guests make the most of their stay.

Utilizing Airbnb's Tools and Features

Airbnb offers a variety of tools and features to help you optimize your listing and manage your sublet. These include a calendar for managing availability, a messaging system for communicating with guests, and a reservation system for handling bookings and payments.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with these tools and features, and use them to streamline your subletting process and provide a seamless experience for your guests.

Managing Your Airbnb Sublet

Once your Airbnb listing is live and you start receiving booking requests, it's crucial to have a system in place for managing your sublet effectively. This involves communicating with guests, screening potential renters, handling check-ins and check-outs, and ensuring that your apartment is clean and well-maintained between stays.

Communicating with Potential Guests

Respond promptly and professionally when a potential guest reaches out with questions or a booking request. Use a friendly and welcoming tone, and take the time to answer any questions they may have about your space, house rules, or the surrounding area.

Be clear and upfront about your expectations and any specific requirements, such as a minimum stay length or a no-pets policy. This will help ensure that guests are a good fit for your sublet and can help prevent misunderstandings or issues down the line.

Screening Guests Thoroughly

While Airbnb provides some basic guest verification and screening, it's still important to do your own due diligence when accepting booking requests. Review potential guests' profiles and read their reviews from previous hosts to get a sense of their reliability and behavior.

If you have any concerns or red flags, don't hesitate to ask additional questions or request more information before accepting a booking. It's better to be cautious and selective than to risk a negative experience or damage to your property.

Arranging Key Exchange and Check-In/Check-Out

Once a booking is confirmed, work with your guest to arrange a convenient check-in and key exchange time. If you can't be present for the check-in, consider using a lockbox or smart lock to allow guests to access the apartment on their own.

Provide clear instructions for accessing the apartment, including door codes, parking information, and other relevant details. Be available to answer any questions or concerns that may arise during the check-in process.

For check-out, communicate your expectations clearly, such as a specific time by which guests should vacate the apartment and any cleaning or tidying up you'd like them to do before leaving.

Providing a Clean and Well-Stocked Apartment

To ensure a positive experience for your guests, providing a clean, comfortable, and well-stocked apartment for each stay is essential. This means thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the space between guests, including washing linens and towels, dusting surfaces, and vacuuming floors. If you can't clean it yourself, you can always rely on the help of professional cleaners to do the job for you. Just make sure to include their fees in your costs.

In addition to cleanliness, make sure your apartment is well-stocked with essential amenities, such as toilet paper, hand soap, and basic kitchen supplies. Consider providing extra touches, like fresh flowers or a welcome basket, to make guests feel at home.

Being Available for Guest Concerns and Emergencies

Throughout your guests' stay, make yourself available to address any concerns, questions, or issues that may arise. Provide your contact information and encourage guests to reach out if they need anything.

In the event of an emergency, such as a plumbing leak or a power outage, have a plan in place for addressing the situation quickly and efficiently. Keep a list of local service providers, such as plumbers or electricians, on hand in case of unexpected repairs.

Maintaining Accurate Records

To stay organized and on top of your Airbnb sublet, maintain accurate records of all bookings, payments, and expenses. Use a spreadsheet or booking management software to track reservations, guest information, and financial transactions.

Keep detailed records of any maintenance or repairs performed on the apartment and any communication with guests or your landlord. This will help you stay organized and prepared in case of any disputes or issues that may arise.

Ensuring Timely Cleaning and Turnover

To maximize your occupancy and income, ensuring timely cleaning and turnover between guests is important. Have a reliable cleaning service or system in place to thoroughly clean and prepare the apartment for the next guest as soon as possible after check-out.

If you have back-to-back bookings, communicate with your cleaning team or service to ensure the apartment is ready for the next guest's arrival. By minimizing turnover time, you can increase your availability and potential earnings.

Maximizing Your Airbnb Sublet Income

Once you've established your Airbnb sublet and started welcoming guests, you may be looking for ways to maximize your income and make the most of your short-term rental. You can employ several strategies to increase your earnings and attract more bookings.

Offering Additional Services or Amenities

One way to stand out from other listings in your area is to offer unique services or amenities that enhance your guests' experience. Consider providing extras like a welcome basket with local treats, a fully stocked coffee and tea station, or complimentary toiletries.

You could also offer additional services for a fee, such as airport pickup or drop-off, grocery delivery, or guided tours of the local area. You can differentiate your listing and justify higher nightly rates by going above and beyond to cater to your guests' needs.

Encouraging Positive Reviews

Positive reviews are crucial for attracting new guests and maintaining a high occupancy rate. Encourage your guests to leave reviews by providing exceptional service and communication throughout their stay.

After check-out, follow up with a message thanking them for their stay and kindly requesting that they leave a review if they enjoyed their experience. Respond promptly and professionally to any feedback, whether positive or negative, to demonstrate your commitment to guest satisfaction.

Adjusting Pricing Based on Demand and Seasonality

It's important to adjust your pricing based on demand and seasonality to maximize your earnings. During peak travel seasons or major events in your area, you may be able to charge higher nightly rates due to increased demand.

Conversely, you may need to lower your prices during slower periods to attract bookings and maintain occupancy. Use Airbnb's Smart Pricing tool or research similar listings in your area to ensure that your rates are competitive and in line with market demand.

Considering Long-Term Sublets

While short-term rentals can be lucrative, they also require significant time and effort to manage. If you're looking for a more passive income stream, consider offering longer-term sublets during off-peak periods.

Long-term sublets, such as monthly or multi-month rentals, can provide a steady stream of income with less turnover and management required. Just be sure to check your local laws and regulations regarding long-term rentals and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

Reinvesting in Your Apartment

Finally, consider reinvesting some of your Airbnb income into your apartment to improve the guest experience and justify higher nightly rates. This could include upgrading furniture or appliances, adding new amenities or features, or refreshing the decor.

By continually improving and updating your space, you can attract more bookings, generate positive reviews, and ultimately increase your earnings over time.

Potential Risks and How to Mitigate Them

While subletting your apartment on Airbnb can be a great way to generate extra income, it's important to be aware of the risks and challenges of being a host. By understanding these risks and taking steps to mitigate them, you can protect yourself, your property, and your guests.

Liability Issues and Insurance

One of the biggest risks of subletting your apartment is the potential for accidents, injuries, or property damage. If a guest is injured during their stay or causes damage to your apartment, you could be held liable as the host.

To protect yourself, it's essential to have adequate insurance coverage. Check with your renters' or homeowners' insurance provider to see if your policy covers short-term rentals. If not, consider purchasing additional liability insurance or opting into Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance program.

Dealing with Difficult Guests or Damages

Even with thorough screening and clear house rules, there's always a chance that you may encounter a difficult guest or experience damage to your property. It's important to have a plan in place for handling these situations professionally and efficiently.

If a guest violates your house rules or causes damage, document the situation with photos and a written description. Contact Airbnb's customer support for guidance on proceeding and following their resolution process for any disputes or claims.

Maintaining Good Relationships

Subletting your apartment can impact your relationships with your landlord, neighbors, and community. Being a responsible and respectful host is crucial to maintain positive relationships and avoid potential conflicts.

Communicate openly and honestly with your landlord about your subletting plans, and ensure that you comply with any rules or regulations set forth in your lease agreement. Be a good neighbor by enforcing quiet hours, properly disposing trash, and ensuring your guests are not disruptive to the surrounding community.

Ensuring Compliance and Paying Taxes

Finally, it's essential to ensure that your Airbnb sublet is in compliance with all local laws, regulations, and tax requirements. Research your city and state's short-term rental laws, and obtain any necessary permits or licenses before listing your apartment.

Keep accurate records of your Airbnb income and expenses, and consult with a tax professional to ensure that you're properly reporting your earnings and paying any required taxes.


This comprehensive guide covers the essential steps and considerations for successfully subletting your apartment and turning it into a profitable Airbnb rental. By following the strategies outlined in this guide and continually adapting to market trends and guest feedback, you can build a thriving Airbnb sublet business and enjoy the benefits of flexible, short-term rental income.


Is It Legal to Sublease My Apartment on Airbnb?

Before subletting your apartment on Airbnb, reviewing your lease agreement and local laws is crucial. Some leases prohibit subletting, while others require written permission from your landlord. Additionally, many cities have specific regulations for short-term rentals, such as registration, permits, or licenses. Research your local laws and obtain necessary approvals to ensure compliance.

How Do I Prepare My Apartment for Airbnb Guests?

To create a welcoming space for your Airbnb guests, start by decluttering and deep cleaning your apartment. Make any necessary repairs and consider upgrading amenities like linens and towels. Ensure your apartment is well-stocked with essentials such as toilet paper, soap, and kitchen supplies. Add personal touches and create a comprehensive house manual to help guests feel at home.

What Are the Best Practices for Managing My Airbnb Sublet?

Effective communication is key to successfully managing your Airbnb sublet. Respond promptly to inquiries and maintain open lines of communication with your guests. Establish clear check-in and check-out procedures, and be available to address any concerns or issues that may arise. Regularly clean and maintain your apartment between guests to ensure a consistently positive experience.

How Can I Maximize My Earnings From Subletting on Airbnb?

Create a compelling listing with high-quality photos and an accurate, detailed description to maximize your earnings. Research similar listings in your area to set competitive prices, and consider adjusting your rates based on demand and seasonality. Offer additional amenities or services to stand out from the competition and encourage guests to leave positive reviews. Reinvest a portion of your earnings into improving your apartment to justify higher nightly rates.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.