If you're consistently fighting the problem of long-term sub letters, hiring a sleuth to solve the issue is one of a handful of solutions available to you. If the average cost of a private eye is $500/unit, this seems like a great ROI if the upside is getting a rent-controlled apartment back on the market. Nonetheless, you should be aware of all your available options before hiring your very own Inspector Clouseau.
The In-house Route
If you already employ an administrative assistant, then why not push the task of investigating your rentals onto them? Let's assume approximately a quarter or less of a full-time admin's work would be spent keeping tabs on all your rental properties. It's time consuming to look through all the sites and to keep track of the data. Thinking about the average total costs of employment, this costs at least $500/month - if you have more than just a handful of units in your portfolio, this number will most definitely increase.
An Outside Monitoring Service
We know that some of our competitors in the market use private investigators to amplify their services. For a fee ranging from $20 - $80/building, our competitors will provide some, but not all, of the data that can be found on sites like Airbnb, VRBO, Flipkey, Craigslist, and HomeAway. In order to get comprehensive data, e.g. the exact tenant details versus just a notice that someone in your building is posting, the fee per unit will increase.
The Ideal Option
Here at LeaseAbuse, we believe in giving you all the information you need about the person abusing their lease for one small cost ranging between $1 - $3/unit/month.
Plenty of building owners do a couple searches on Airbnb and if they don't see results, they assume the tenants they know are using sub-letters must be using word-of-mouth to secure illegal tenants. This often is not the case: there have been countless times we convinced an owner to let us do a free scan for the buildings and we found postings they couldn't find.
How? Increased trickery by your tenants. They aren't using their real names. They aren't posting during the day when you and your admin is working. They are not keeping the posts active at all times. This is simply ripe for automation and technology doing what it's meant to do – be smarter than humans. Crawlers can go out and find the data you simply aren’t able to find on your own. Here at LeaseAbuse, our team sifts through that data which allows your team to do what they were meant to do: make you money.
If you think illegal subletting is occurring at your properties, it makes more sense to spend $3/unit for a few months to get real, usable data before popping for that pricey spy to creep outside your buildings.