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Airbnb vs. Wunderflats: Comparing Rental Platforms

A comparison of rental platforms: Airbnb and Wunderflats. We answer the most pressing questions that affect you as a landlord in Germany.
Young couple in a living room looking at a cat in the window. Comparing apartment rental platforms.

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 travellers in over 200 countries an alternative to a hotel stay, Wunderflats is Germany’s leading online platform for temporary furnished housing. Starting from a rental period of one month, professionals and students can find their furnished home when they move to another city for a new start or temporary employment.

We have summarized the most important differences between Airbnb and Wunderflats in this article. We answer the most pressing questions that affect you as a landlord/-lady in Germany:

  • Is renting out via the platforms legal?
  • What services do the platforms offer you as a landlord/-lady?
  • From creating the listing to paying the rent: How does renting work on the two platforms?
  • What is the breakdown of the rental price in the listing?
  • What costs do you incur on the platforms?
  • What income can you expect as a landlord/-lady?
  • What are the cancellation options for the rental contracts?
  • Which platform is suitable for which landlords/-ladies? 

Is renting out 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/-ladies 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 pitfalls of vacation rentals here and more about misuse here.

Many landlords/-ladies 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/-lady: 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 50,000 euros up to 500,000 euros can be imposed. 

Requirements for renting with Wunderflats

Renting a furnished temporary apartment via Wunderflats is for actual living – and that 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 aspects for temporary furnished rentals.

What services do the platforms offer for landlords/-lady?

Platform use

Airbnb: Exclusively independent use of the platform by landlords/-ladies.

Wunderflats: Independent use of the platform by landlords/-ladies is possible, as well as personal consulting with our teams.

Free services for landlords/-ladies

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, including on rental pricing, photography of your property (under certain conditions), 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, tenant reviews 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/-lady

Airbnb: Verification of the e-mail address, upload of an official identification document, tenant reviews are publicly visible.

Wunderflats: Verification of the landlords/-ladies by phone by the Wunderflats team, upload of an official identification document, verification on-site by property photographers.

Requests

Airbnb: All rental requests are sent directly to the landlords/-ladies.

Wunderflats: Landlords/-ladies 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/-lady and tenant via e-mail and SMS or via Airbnb’s direct messaging feature.

Wunderflats: Wunderflats answers all questions from tenants and landlords/-ladies 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.

Contract processing

Airbnb: The booking is handled via the platform. As a rule, no rental contract is signed when renting via Airbnb.

Wunderflats: Wunderflats provides a verified rental contract and offers digital contract signing via the platform.

From the creation of the listing to the payment of the rent: How does renting work on the two platforms?

Renting on Airbnb

  1. You create a landlord/-lady profile.
  2. You list your apartment: have photos available, as well as information about the address and rental price.*
  3. Your listing goes online after up to six hours.
  4. They receive and respond to all inquiries.
  5. You agree/disagree with the prospective tenants.
  6. Payment is processed through Airbnb. 24 hours after the check-in of your guests you will receive the rent minus Airbnb percentages.

* If your municipality has a ban on misuse that requires a registration number, please enter it here.

Renting at Wunderflats

  1. You list your apartment: have photos available, as well as information about the address and monthly rent.
  2. You create a landlord/-lady account where you can manage your rental requests.
  3. You finalise and publish your listing. If it is your first listing, a Wunderflats representative will contact you by phone to place the listing online.
  4. Wunderflats receives, checks and verifies rental requests for your apartment.
  5. You receive verified requests according to your requirements and agree/disagree – or suggest another move-in or move-out date.
  6. Wunderflats provides templates for rental agreements and a handover protocol.
  7. After the successful conclusion of the contract, the deposit and rent will be paid directly to you by your tenant.
  8. You will receive an invoice from Wunderflats and pay a service fee of 10% of the total rental income plus VAT. 

 

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/-lady 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/-lady 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?

Airbnb costs

Every listing on Airbnb is free of charge. As a landlord/-lady, you pay at least 3% service fee of the booking amount to Airbnb. This is automatically deducted from your payout when the platform processes the payment. Tenants pay a service fee to Airbnb, which is usually less than 14.2%, if VAT is applicable, the fee may be slightly higher. As a landlord/-lady, you can also decide that only you pay fees. In this model, the amount of the fee is around 14-16%.

Wunderflats costs

On Wunderflats every listing is free of charge. As a landlord/-lady, you pay a Wunderflats Service Fee. In Germany, this is 11.9% incl. VAT of the booking amount over the entire booked rental period. As a landlord, Wunderflats recommends that you request a deposit in the amount of one month’s rent.

Tenants pay a one-time Wunderflats Service Fee for a confirmed booking. In Germany, the service fee for tenants is €249. 

 

What income can you expect as a landlord/-lady?

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 mid- or 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/-lady, 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/-lady, 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 via Airbnb, there are different cancellation levels for tenants, between which you as the landlord/-lady can choose: from flexible (full refund if cancelled up to 1 day before check-in) to strict (cancellation within 48 hours of booking to 14 days before check-in for refund required). Different Airbnb cancellation levels can also be selected for long-term rentals (from 28 days).

You can influence the occupancy rate of your apartment with these different cancellation conditions. For example, the option to cancel at short notice can lead to more rental requests.

Withdrawal options with Wunderflats

When renting via Wunderflats in Germany, the laws for rental agreements for temporary use 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 for temporary furnished rentals

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/-lady 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. 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/-lady?

The platforms’ respective offers address different target groups and differ for you as a landlord/-lady in terms of use, income and costs, effort and risks. 

Airbnb is more suitable for you as a landlord/-lady if the following aspects apply: 

  • Renting to tourists is not restricted by a ban on misuse in your region.
  • 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 rather rent out your apartment for short rental periods; for example, short stays or vacations.
  • You are more willing to take risks when it comes to tenant selection and rental income.
  • You want to take complete control of communication with your tenants and receive all requests from potential guests.
  • You thrive in your role as host and would like to serve an average of five to seven guests per month.
  • 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: Airbnb is suitable for you if you are happy to take care of the rental and the associated work yourself, if you are not dependent on a seamless occupancy of your apartment, and would like to generate potentially higher revenues.

 

Wunderflats is more suitable for you as a landlord/-lady, if the following aspects apply:

  • 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.
  • You would like to hand over the search for verified tenants to an experienced service provider.
  • You would like assistance renting out your apartment.
  • You want to keep the wear and tear on the apartment furnishings as low as possible.
  • You value the security that comes with signing a rental agreement.

 

In a nutshell: Wunderflats is suitable for you if you are happy to place the rental and the associated work in professional hands, want a low vacancy risk and prefer secure income.

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.

 

Learn more about how to create a listing on Wunderflats within just a few minutes or create your listing now.

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