Airbnb, a popular lodging rental website, has experienced amazing growth, and now serves almost 200 countries worldwide. In Northeast Ohio there are more than 50 available rentals for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend alone, ranging from $30- $600. This is similar to the ‘old-world’ concept of opening your door for a neighbor in need; but these times are arguably very different. The risks and liabilities for both parties can quickly outweigh the short-term income or savings.
Some safety measures are in place and include a peer-based review system, and a dedicated ‘safety team’ of roughly 100 individuals worldwide. Both renters and hosts are reviewed on the basis of a variety of factors, but it is far from foolproof and the safety fleet of 100 people is almost laughable.
The Risks for Hosts
Airbnb hosts are signing up for much more than a roommate. Airbnb’s much advertised liability insurance is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing and your insurance company isn’t happy about it. In one study, the 20 largest homeowner’s insurance companies in the US were polled using hypothetical (In some cases, actual) scenarios that could stem from an Airbnb related claim. Generally, most insurance claims are void if an incident occurs from an in-home business. This is a major issue, and if an incident occurs, the host can lose everything.
Widely known as a thought sharing process, Airbnb executives are completely invested in their own best interest, and not their customers or hosts. This is, after all, the nature of the business beast. As a host, your rights, insurance policy and and other risks should be carefully weighed.
From the guest perspective, insurance and liability can be equally troublesome! From dog bites to falls and everything in between – Airbnb properties have been responsible for their fair share of tragedies. On the very basic level – What do you actually know about the individual or the property you are checking into?
While the review system is helpful, it is still far different than checking into a hotel for the weekend. At commercial properties, certain safety inspections are regulated by state and national standards – At someone’s home, this is simply not the case. A recent tragedy at a Texas Airbnb property left one man dead.
The sharing model may be a great way to save money as a consumer, or to make money as the service provider – but the fine line between personal use and commercialization can be a very dangerous for all involved.
As your Ohio personal injury lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®