Jun 3, 2016
6 Safety Tips for the Airbnb Host In You
Our last post discussing Airbnb – an alternative to hotels and hostels during your travels – outlined some key measures to remain safe as an adventurous soul staying in someone’s space.
But what about the host? How can you have confidence that your assets will remain protected when you have strangers staying in your house?
Well, homeowners, we researched that, too. Here are our suggestions to keep your home secure as an Airbnb host:
Pay and Communicate on Airbnb
Airbnb is a secure platform. It ensures you’ll get paid for hosting guests and allows you to properly refund them if need be. As soon as you communicate outside the platform, you begin to lose protection from the company. If you make arrangements with a customer outside the reservation system, Airbnb’s assurance policy no longer applies.
Although it may be tempting for either you or a guest to skip around the commission Airbnb receives with each reservation, at the end of the day the security it offers you is well worth the cost.
Get to know Your Guest
Airbnb offers an Instant Book option, but you’re better off ensuring you introduce yourself to your guest before accepting their reservation. This protects you in several ways:
1. You’re less likely to have an uncomfortable, disappointed, or complaining guest, because connecting beforehand gives you a chance to make the expectations very clear. If you answer all of your guest’s questions in advance, they won’t be surprised by anything. Guests are allowed to request a refund based on missing amenities, so ensuring you’re both on the same page is a great way to protect your investment.
2. Guests are more likely to respect the home of a person they’ve built a connection with. One of the biggest reasons some travellers prefer booking through Airbnb over a hotel is becaus of the personal connection they gain, so don’t take the power of interaction for granted!
3. Most importantly, connecting allows you to ensure you’re comfortable sharing your space with this person. If your gut is telling you no, you can choose to decline the reservation. Talking to a potential guest allows you to screen who will be in your home.
Set out Clear Rules and Expectations
To make a reservation, guests and hosts must agree upon a list of house rules. These can include off-limits areas and overall expectation, such as your policy regarding guests bringing other guests, pets, and smoking. House rules need to be specific and comprehensive. If a guest breaks a house rule, you can cancel their reservation without penalty. If you do not lay out your house rules, however, you do not have that protection.
Remove Valuables from the Shared Space
Airbnb insurance doesn’t cover loss of personal items, so you’ll need to either insure these items separately or remove them from your guest’s reach. You don’t need to move everything, but if a traveller will be sleeping in your bedroom, you should remove jewelry, valuables, money and personal information. It is best if you have a closet or room that can be locked to store these items.
Use a Security System in Off-Limits Areas
If you’re renting out part of your home while living there, you need your spaces and privacy to be protected. And if you’re not there, how do you know that your guest is respecting the house rules you laid out?
We don’t recommend installing a security camera right in the guest’s space, but systems like Piper that are equipped with a motion sensor will allow you to be notified if anyone enters those off-limits places while you’re gone. In addition, you can connect wireless accessories, such as door/window sensors to know if other rooms, such as the one where you’re storing valuables, has been entered.
Piper is easy to arm and disarm, so if you’re waiting for a guest to get in and you’re not meeting them in person with the key, you can disarm the system remotely when they arrive. Great for you, because you won’t need to leave your home completely unprotected in the interim.
Get Insurance and Request Security Deposits
Airbnb offers up to $1,000,000 worth of insurance to protect hosts from damage caused by guests. However, this does not cover all liabilities. Adding layers of normal insurance can go a long way when it comes to protecting your home.
It may be a good idea to ask for some kind of a security deposit from your guest. It can protect against small damages, because no one likes cleaning wine out of a carpet… or paying for it. If you ask for a security deposit, make sure you document the space before each visit.