Denver's new Airbnb regulations passed this summer and going into effect on Jan. 1 are a real bummer to those who have seen the power return on investment provided by short-term rentals. The new law prohibits residents from renting out anything but their primary residence. This applies to second homes, and even the other side of a duplex that you own and live in.
(Essentially, if a place has a different address than your primary residence, you can't rent it on Airbnb.) But do not fret. With a little work and a touch of creativity, you can operate a full-time short-term rental that is separate from your space and continue reaping those outsized profits.
The answer is house hacking.
The Denver Airbnb rules allow what they call accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to be rented as a short-term rental "by a property owner or long-term renter who is living in the primary structure on the property."
Whether searching for a home on the market, or already owning your own place, here are the features you should look for.
You can rent out an attic!
A lot of homes, especially Victorian style houses, have a pitched-roof attic. This is the perfect space for a cozy studio space. Travelers from out of town don't necessarily need a ton of space. I've hosted guests in 350 square feet, and the reviews were amazing. The key is keeping the area open and free-flowing. A tiny kitchen, small bathroom, and a few windows can make for an inviting little retreat for tourists.
One small note on attic apartments. While not a necessity, a separate entrance is great. That could be an outside staircase. Or it could be an internal staircase blocked off from your space.
You can rent out a basement!
A basement can offer the same draw as an attic. Again, keep it open. (By that, I mean don't erect walls that cut off areas and make the space look smaller.)
Again, a separate entrance, while not a necessity, is a really nice feature, both for you and your guests. Many basements have a side entrance that you could use.
A few notes specific to basement apartments. Lighting is key. Wall sconces, track lighting, and recessed bulbs can illuminate what otherwise might be a dungeon. Also, you'll need to make sure you have an egress window. If something goes wrong in there, your guests need to be able to get out.
You can rent a mother-in-law suite!
Do you have a carriage house out back? What about a space above the garage?
Get a contractor in there, plug in an IKEA kitchen and bathroom, and start making money! If you've got a lot of space, maybe you can put in an actual bedroom or two. But if you've only got space for a studio, then Google "small space apartments" and get started.
Read more about Airbnb or contact me to start your investment journey.