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Airbnb Hosts: Take Note!

June 9, 2016
Buyer Friendly

With the emergence of Airbnb, property owners now have the unique opportunity to efficiently rent out their entire home or condo, a spare bedroom, or other accommodations.  Airbnb is a web-based platform which provides convenient, affordable and flexible alternatives to hotels for travellers.  The premise of this platform is it easily connects various rental units with prospective occupants and makes the transfer of funds simple and secure.

Here are some tips to mitigate these risks:

1.       Acquire the proper insurance.

Take the time to review your tenant or homeowner’s policy with your MIG Insurance broker to make sure you are covered.  Depending on your uses you may need a separate policy to cover your risk.  Proper insurance is key to mitigating the risks associated with Airbnb, and there are many exclusions to the Host Guarantee that they offer.

2.       Have a home safety inspection completed.

A safety inspection can help an Airbnb host address a risk before it balloons into a bigger problem.  You should complete a thorough home inspection and address all of the safety issues you identify before listing your property on Airbnb.

3.       Screen all prospective guests.

It is a good idea to dig into the background of prospective guests before allowing them to stay in your home.  To start, make sure the guest is verified through Airbnb.  You also have the ability to review any connected social media accounts and read references and reviews of the guest through the site.

4.       Set clear rules and boundaries.

With Airbnb you have the ability to create guidelines for guests through the use of their Home Safety Card, House Rules and House Manual section of your profile.  This will allow you to set clear rules for your prospective guests around etiquette within your property and safety as well.

5.       Establish occupancy limits.

Occupancy limits should take into account the size of the property and local regulations.  Setting occupancy limits will help ensure that guests are comfortable and safe during their stay.

6.       Establish a security deposit.

Adding a security deposit to your Airbnb listing can soften the blow in the unfortunate event of damaged property or other incident.

7.       Secure your valuables.

With the more guests you allow into your home, the more at risk your valuable property is.  To protect your expensive items, consider moving them into a safety deposit box or a secure off-site location.

8.       Protect sensitive information.

Although your property is a very important aspect to protect when inviting guests into your home it is not the only thing to worry about.  To help prevent against identity theft, make sure that your guests cannot gain access to any files, whether that be physical or electronic, that contain sensitive personal information.

9.       Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Safety equipment such as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide equipment should be installed around your home.  You should also have a clearly defined emergency evacuation plan.

10.   Child-proof your premises.

Some of your guests will likely have children.  To protect all of your guests, take the time to child-proof your home.

11.   Keep your accommodations well maintained.

Regular maintenance and good housekeeping can help your guests avoid common injuries such as slips, trips and falls.  Prior to each rental, examine your home and keep an eye out for any maintenance or housekeeping issues that may put your guests at risk.

12.   Provide contact information.

It is imperative that you always supply your guests with an information sheet that indicate local emergency numbers as well as the nearest hospital.  Provide an emergency contact number for yourself, as well as a backup number for someone else. 

13.   Supply a first-aid kit.

In addition to providing an emergency contact, having a first-aid kit readily available for your guest and fully stocked at all times is important.

14.   Verify compliance with your local regulations.

Regulations and legality of Airbnb hosting differs greatly between locations and the type of accommodation you are renting out.  It is important that you check these regulations in your local area and make sure your are in compliance with all of them before using Airbnb.

15.   Notify those who could be impacted by your guests. 

As a courtesy, it is important that you make your neighbours or roommates aware of the guests that will be using your property.

Utilizing these tips will help mitigate your risk of using Airbnb, but to make sure you have all of your bases covered talk to your MIG Insurance broker today.

Image Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/travel/2015/10/04/What-you-need-to-know-about-Airbnb/stories/201510040012

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