Although this article discusses Airbnb violations in San Francisco, the issues regarding when a tenant rents a unit on Airbnb is the same in San Francisco or in Los Angeles (or anywhere in California). The article is “Airbnb Violations Now Being Used More Often Than the Ellis Act in SF.” Most leases contain a clause that a tenant cannot sublease or assign a lease without the landlord’s permission. When a tenant rents the unit or a space within the unit on Airbnb, essentially the tenant is subleasing the unit.
A sublease is a separate rental agreement between the original tenant and a new tenant who moves in temporarily or who moves in with the original tenant. The new tenant would be called a “subtenant” and the original tenant can be called a “sublessor.”
Under a sublease, the original tenant is still responsible to the landlord to pay the rent and is responsible for violations of the rental agreement even if the subtenant is the one causing the breach. A subtenant has no contractual relationship with the landlord, meaning that a landlord cannot evict a subtenant alone.
There are certain issues that arise when subleasing a unit. First, most leases do not allow subleasing without the landlord’s permission. Landlords are becoming more aware that tenants are renting their units on Airbnb, which could be a breach of the rental agreement.
Further, if you are subleasing, it is important that the tenant be in good standing with the landlord. For example, a subtenant who pays a sublessor can still be evicted by a landlord if the sublessor is not paying the landlord the rent. There are defenses and issues that may arise in this situation, but essentially if a sublessor breaches the lease by not paying the rent, all of the residents in a unit can be evicted.
If you are looking to evict a tenant based upon a violation of the lease or in a situation involving a violation of the rental agreement, please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220.