Landlords and agents now have a new weapon at their disposal in the battle against illegal sub-letting, with the launch of an Australia-first monitoring service called BnbGuard.
Live as of late last year, but publicly launched last week, BnbGuard was created by an Australian start-up and monitors properties for unauthorised use on popular short-stay accommodation sites such as Airbnb.
Co-founders Richard Frey and Reuben Schwarz are the brains behind the brand, and note the service was created to prevent homeowners being put at risk by tenants illegally profiting off their property.
“We’ve all heard the horror stories of out of control parties, uninsured property damage, security worries, pop-up brothels, and squatters,” Mr Schwarz said.
“It’s caught many landlords off guard and leaves them liable to the risk of extra cost, and property wear and tear as well as being a legal risk that’s often not covered by landlord insurance.
“This illegal sub-letting was previously hard to check. The idea of BnbGuard came from connecting these dots.”
BnbGuard uses automated technology to monitor long and short-term rental websites including Airbnb, Flatmates.com and Stayz. The service provides weekly reporting and instant notification when a listing is found online.
“Tenants use various tricks to try and disguise properties,” Mr Schwarz continued. “It’s also hard for landlords and property managers because there’s often no address listed and if you’re not looking in the right way or regularly you can miss a property entirely.
“We apply technology to identify images and data, and any possible matches are further assessed by our expert team.”
BnbGuard can monitor entire buildings, individual apartments or standalone properties. Already the service has over 3000 properties on its books and is reaping serious results.
“We’re seeing the highest numbers come from Byron Bay, Bondi Beach and Melbourne CBD,” Mr Frey said.
“Recently we found a building in Bondi Beach with almost half its apartments sub-let. However, the first ‘offender’ we ever found was in a remote area near Wollongong, proving it’s a problem outside of the tourists hotspots too.”
Customers include stratas, self-managed landlords and property managers.
“BnbGuard is an affordable way to protect properties from unwanted sub-letting,” Mr Frey continued. “Now our clients can be sure who’s really staying at their place.”
Property managers looking to utilise the service for multiple addresses can contact BnbGuard directly or access further information at www.bnbguard.com.au.