Your place *probably* won't get trashed
You can set as many rules as you like, that guests have to agree to before you book -- it’s totally fine if you don’t want to host animals or parties, or animal parties for that matter. Almost all of the time, you’ll have no problems, your guests will be respectful, and you might even end up making new friends. But there’s a small minority of total fuckwits who will break the rules and damage your stuff. “Some people are real pigs,” Woulfe says. “I've had to call the police a couple times, and neighbors have as well.”
You will probably suffer -- financially and mentally
Wear-and-tear is inevitable when you’ve got a bunch of people passing through your place, especially when a lot of them treat it as a hotel rather than a home. You have to make peace with the fact they might not take their shoes off, or if they do, they might put their bare feet on your new coffee table. And you may as well accept that they’ll get freaky-deeky in your bed (that’s if you’re lucky, and they don’t like the look of your sofa, desk, or the countertop above your washing machine). “In two years I've burned through 12 sets of sheets and probably as many sets of towels,” Justin Woulfe. “People love to fuck in someone else's house, it seems.”
Wise up on insurance
You might have heard about the Airbnb host guarantee, which covers up to $1 million of damage to your property. What Airbnb doesn’t shout quite so loudly is that this covers only structural damage, like if your guest accidentally burns the whole freaking house down. “Airbnb's damage policy/insurance kind of sucks, quite honestly,” Woulfe says. “There would have to be really extensive damage for their policy to be useful.”
If you’re worried about your personal stuff getting damaged, stolen or otherwise-messed-with, what you need is a security deposit. You can ask for up to $5,000, but bear in mind that guests might be put off your listing if they have to put their college fund on the line to book it. The other option is just to suck it up: “I've had a lot of things broken, small stuff less than $1,000, which I've chalked up to the cost of doing business,” says Woulfe.
Stay on the right side of the law
It’s not illegal to rent out your property... except when it is. In New York City, for example, you can only use Airbnb to rent out a room in your own apartment -- you have to be staying there while the guest is visiting, and it has to be the one (you can only have one) you live in full-time. So anyone who claims to have a mini real estate empire of Brooklyn Airbnbs is up a creek if the authorities come knocking. Check the rules for your state, and if you decide to bend the law, be prepared to stomach a hefty fine if you get caught (up to $7,500 in NYC).