The demand for furnished apartments is steadily increasing: For many, planned trips and job-related moves to other cities or countries are becoming more and more common. But as different as the reasons for renting a furnished apartment are, so are the providers:
Both the U.S. company Airbnb and the Berlin startup Wunderflats offer you the opportunity to temporarily rent your furnished apartment to verified tenants. But while the rental platform Airbnb, founded in 2008, provides private accommodation to tourists worldwide and offers travelers in over 200 countries an alternative to a hotel stay, Wunderflats is Germany’s leading online platform for temporary furnished accommodation. Starting from a rental period of one month, professionals and students can find their furnished home there when they move to another city for a new start or temporary employment.
We have taken a closer look at both online marketplaces and summarized the most important differences in this article. We answer the most pressing questions that affect you as a landlord in Germany:
Is renting via the platforms legal?
Short-term rentals in particular are becoming more complicated in major German cities: Increasingly, platforms such as Airbnb and their landlords find themselves the focus of attention from media reports and the authorities. This is because in metropolitan areas, short-term rentals are seen as a sign that apartments are not being used for housing, but as vacation homes for tourists – thus for purposes other than their intended use. Find out more about the legal pitfalls of vacation rentals here and more about misuse here.
Many landlords ask themselves: Is temporarily renting out furnished accommodation still allowed? The answer is: definitely yes, under certain conditions.
Requirements for renting with Airbnb
As a landlord: in a vacation apartment, you must, in addition to the general legal regulations, first deal with the local regulations on misappropriation. If a ban on misuse has been passed in your municipality, it is important to check whether you need to apply for a registration number or an official permit to rent out your apartment to tourists. Otherwise, fines of up to 500,000 euros can be imposed.
Requirements for renting with Wunderflats
If you rent out a furnished apartment on a temporary basis via Wunderflats, the apartment is used for actual living – and this remains legal. In conjunction with Wunderflats, you comply with the requirements of your respective municipality regarding the minimum rental period and the reason for the residence of your tenant(s) to ensure that the apartment is not used for any other purpose.
For more details on the legal requirements for temporary furnished rentals, click here: The legal situation for temporary furnished rentals.
What services do the platforms offer for landlords?
Airbnb: Exclusively independent use of the platform by landlords.
Wunderflats: Independent use of the platform by landlords possible, as well as personal consulting with our teams.
Free services for landlords
Airbnb: Listing on Airbnb, pricing support through pricing tool, global customer service, AirCover (covers property damage in certain cases and serves as liability insurance – note: not a substitute for private homeowner or liability insurance), handling of the booking process.
Wunderflats: Listing on Wunderflats, personal consultation, photography of your property, display of the listing on cooperating platforms such as ImmobilienScout24, handling of the booking process including verification of the tenants, signing of a legally and officially verified rental agreement.
Verification of tenants:
Airbnb: Verification of e-mail address, phone number, and payment details, upload of an official identification document is possible, and tenants’ ratings are publicly visible.
Wunderflats: Verification of the identity of the tenants by means of identification documents, as well as verification of their ability to pay.
Verification of the landlord
Airbnb: Verification of the e-mail address, and upload of an official identification document is possible, landlord ratings are publicly visible.
Wunderflats: Verification of the landlords by phone by the Wunderflats team, verification on site by property photographers.
Airbnb: All rental requests are sent directly to the landlords.
Wunderflats: Landlords only receive rental requests matching their requirements via e-mail or SMS notification from Wunderflats.
Communication with tenants
Airbnb: Communication takes place directly between landlord and tenant via e-mail and SMS or via Airbnb’s direct messaging feature.
Wunderflats: Wunderflats answers all questions from tenants and landlords about individual apartments and the booking process. After the rental agreement has been signed, Wunderflats provides the contact details between the two parties so that they can coordinate the details of the handover and get in touch with each other.
Airbnb: The booking is handled via the platform. As a rule, no rental contract is signed when renting via Airbnb.
Wunderflats: Wunderflats handles the contract processing between the landlord/-lady and suitable tenant and provides a verified rental agreement.
From the creation of the listing to the payment of the rent: How do rentals work on the two platforms?
|Renting on Airbnb
|Renting at Wunderflats
|You create a landlord profile.
|You list your apartment: have photos available, as well as information about the address and monthly rent.
|You list your apartment: have photos available, as well as information about the address and rental price.*
|You create a landlord account where you can manage your rental requests.
|Your listing goes online after up to six hours.
|You finalize and publish your listing. If it is your first listing, a Wunderflats representative will contact you by phone to place the listing online.
|They receive and respond to all inquiries.
|Wunderflats receives, checks, and verifies rental requests for your apartment.
|You agree/disagree with the prospective tenants.
|You receive verified requests according to your requirements and agree/disagree – or suggest another move-in or move-out date.
|Payment is processed through Airbnb. 24 hours after the check-in of your guests you will receive the rent minus Airbnb percentages.
|Wunderflats handles the contract processing and provides templates for rental agreements and handover protocol.
|After the successful conclusion of the contract, the deposit and rent will be paid directly to you by your tenant.
|You will receive an invoice from Wunderflats and pay a service fee of 10% of the total rental income plus VAT.
* If your municipality has a ban on misuse that requires a registration number, please enter it here.
You can find more information about listing your apartment with Wunderflats here.
What is the breakdown of the rental price in the listing?
The rental price at Airbnb
With Airbnb, you as the landlord have the price calculation per night at your fingertips. In any case, you show an all-inclusive price that includes all costs and incidental expenses regardless of use. Only through a spa or tourist tax and the use of WLAN – which is not a criterion for the minimum equipment in the apartments – additional costs may arise. The prices per night can vary depending on the number of persons, length of stay and increased demand in the region during fairs or city festivals. If you want to offer your tenants any discounts for longer stays, you can set weekly or monthly prices that differ from the nightly price.
The rental price at Wunderflats
With Wunderflats, you as the landlord set the prices per month in each instance. You display an all-inclusive price. This includes the rental price, the furnishing surcharge and the monthly incidental costs, such as water, electricity and internet. The prices per month are independent of the number of persons, the length of stay or the demand. For months rented on a pro-rata basis, the rent is also calculated on a pro-rata basis.
What costs do you incur on the platforms?
On Airbnb, every listing is free of charge. As a landlord, you pay at least 3% service fee of the booking amount to Airbnb. This is automatically deducted from your payout when the platform processes your payment. Tenants pay Airbnb a service fee that is usually less than 13%, and if VAT is applicable, the fee may be slightly higher. As a landlord you can retain a deposit.
On Wunderflats every listing is free of charge. As a landlord, you pay a service fee of 11.9% incl. VAT of the booking amount over the entire booked rental period to Wunderflats. Wunderflats will invoice you for this fee after the beginning of the rental period. Payment is not handled by the platform – you receive the rent and deposit directly from your tenants. The tenants do not pay any fee to Wunderflats in Germany. As a landlord, Wunderflats recommends that you request a deposit in the amount of one month’s rent.
What income can you expect as a landlord?
Income via Airbnb
When renting via Airbnb, the cost and income per booking can vary, for example, depending on the number of people or the cancellation policy chosen.
As guests are often willing to pay higher accommodation prices for vacations or short-term stays, your income from renting with Airbnb is usually higher than from long-term rentals. However, your risks are also higher: As you are mainly targeting tourists with your listing, you need to expect last-minute cancellations, damage to the apartment and seasonal vacancies.
Income via Wunderflats
When renting via Wunderflats, your income only varies over the rental period: The rental price stated in the listing is always the same for the tenants. For you as a landlord, this means a calculable income from your furnished apartment.
Since your listing is mainly aimed at medium to long-term tenants, your income is usually not as high as it would be if you were renting by the day. At the same time, as a landlord, you have lower risks and operational costs: by renting to verified tenants with a longer length of stay and legally binding leases, there is usually less wear and tear and vacancy in your apartment. The number of final cleanings and apartment handovers is also significantly lower than with a short-term rental.
While you can expect to have about seven guests per month when renting out your vacation home for a short period of time with an average stay of four days, you will have about three guests per year if you rent out temporary housing with an average stay of four months. In comparison: A permanent apartment is re-rented in Germany on average every ten years.
What are the withdrawal options?
Cancellation options with Airbnb
When renting through Airbnb, there are different cancellation levels for tenants that you as a landlord/-lady can choose between: from flexible (a full refund for cancellation up to 1 day before check-in) to very strict (50 % refund up to 60 days before check-in). For long-term rentals over several months, 30 days’ notice applies in case of cancellation.
With these different cancellation options, you can have an impact on the occupancy rate of your apartment. For example, the possibility of short-term cancellations can lead to more rental inquiries.
Withdrawal options with Wunderflats
When renting via Wunderflats, the laws for rental agreements for temporary use (hereinafter referred to by us as rental agreements for temporary living) apply. A rental agreement for temporary living can only be terminated due to extraordinary reasons. For example, the tenants have the right to withdraw from the contract if the condition of the apartment at the time of handover differs significantly from the online information or at the time of an inspection. More detailed information on rental agreements for temporary living can also be found in the article The legal aspects of renting furnished apartments on a temporary basis.
The right of withdrawal of § 355 BGB applies if you rent out commercially and the tenant is a natural person (i.e. not a company).
With Wunderflats, legal conditions and binding contract processing apply to both parties. The binding rental agreements ensure a plannable occupancy of your apartment. Nevertheless, in rare cases, tenants change their plans after signing the contract, so that they cannot or do not want to move in. With both parties signing the rental agreement for temporary living, you as a landlord are on the safe side and can legally insist on payment of the rent. We at Wunderflats are also happy to help you with a simpler, alternative solution: We actively look for a follow-up tenant for you at short notice and support you in agreeing on a termination agreement with your tenant who has jumped ship. This is a win-win situation: You prevent vacancies without any effort and you help the original tenant to avoid an additional financial burden.
Which platform should you choose as a landlord
|Airbnb is more suitable for you as a landlord if the following aspects apply:
|Wunderflats is more suitable for you as a landlord if the following aspects apply:
|Renting to tourists is not restricted by a ban on misuse in your region.
|You would like to have less tenant turnover (only about three to four per year) and rent out your fully furnished apartment for longer periods of time.
|If there is a ban on misuse in your municipality, you have a registration number and an official permit for short-term rentals of your apartment.
|You would like to hand over the search for verified tenants to an experienced service provider.
|You would rather rent out your apartment for short rental periods; for example, short stays or vacations.
|You would like assistance renting out your apartment.
|You are more willing to take risks when it comes to tenant selection and rental income.
|You want to keep the wear and tear on the apartment furnishings as low as possible.
|You want to take complete control of communication with your tenants and receive all requests from potential guests.
|You value the security that comes with signing a rental agreement.
|You thrive in your role as host and would like to serve an average of five to seven guests per month
|In a nutshell: You are happy to place the rental and the associated work in professional hands, you have a low vacancy risk, and you generate secure income.
|You can handle regular guest check-ins and check-outs and the associated clean-up work or would like to hire outside vendors for this yourself.
|In a nutshell: You are happy to take care of the rental and the associated work yourself, you are not dependent on a seamless occupancy rate for your apartment, and you potentially generate higher revenues.
Our tip: It is always best to compare your potential income with your time and effort. Consider how much time you would like to invest in searching, processing requests and looking after guests or tenants. Often, these are the best indications of which platform you would rather use to achieve your goals.