Find out whether your fears are merited. The easiest way to do this is simply to ask your tenants or someone who works in the building, like a doorman or maintenance worker. You can check websites like Airbnb by searching for apartments like your tenants’. Do not input price or date parameters. Look at the map of apartments to see if the apartment in question is listed.
Know the laws of your state and city. Subleasing and subleasing via Airbnb are treated differently under the law. Most states and municipalities have laws protecting tenants who choose to sublet. Some have carve-outs for short-term rentals like those through Airbnb. However, most of these carve-outs are related to duration and frequency of sublets. If you don’t know the details of your tenants’ activities it’s nearly impossible to determine if their actions would be protected. Knowing the laws of your area is crucial, because taking action in contravention of those laws could create serious legal problems later on.
Re-read your lease. If the lease agreement says tenants can sublet as they please, there is nothing you can do, unless short-term subletting is illegal in your area. In most areas, it is not illegal. Though a lease that is more restrictive than the law is unenforceable, a lease that is more lenient than the law will control.
Consider your remedies. Tenant eviction is an option, but should always be a last resort. It’s messy, expensive, and usually not allowed. Tenant eviction that is groundless or unmerited will lead to serious financial and legal ramifications. Generally, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Tenant screening can weed out financially unstable candidates who are more likely to sublet. Tenant screening can also alert you to any legal actions previously taken against your prospective tenants, some of which could be for illegal subletting.
Despite your fears about tenants having short-term subletters, it’s also important to remember that subleasing means rent for you. It’s better to have tenants sublease occasionally and pay their rent than default on their rent and disappear with your money.