Today, your vacations truly can be a “home away from home”. With the uprise in companies like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, you do not have to confine your vacation to a one bedroom, one bath hotel space. Airbnb is a popular online peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people who are seeking a place to stay, with property owners in that locale who list their homes to temporarily rent-out. Sharing a wall with complete strangers in the next room over is a thing of the past. It also comes at a cost benefit for the homeowner (host). Your stay is your host’s income for their property.
From a glance, it seems like a win-win scenario for both the guest and host. Unfortunately, the risk of accidents and injuries in an Airbnb are immense.
High chances for accidents are factored by:
A large group of people staying under one roof.
- The more guests staying on property, the more unmanageable it can be. This creates a higher chance for unsafe conditions. Some hosts may list their maximum guest count greater than the appropriate safety regulations. These hosts feel the more beds they stock in their property, the more traffic for larger groups. This then gives them the opportunity to raise the rent price on their home.
Lack of host on site grounds.
- Unlike hotels, Airbnb rentals don’t have a full-time maintenance team working around the clock to keep the establishment clean. Without management on base, the rental property can get messy, which raises risks of accidents.
Staying on a private property gives the privilege to use a higher noise level.
- If you rent out a home, your curfew for noise level is extended to far later hours of the night. This can increase risk because the rowdiness can get out of hand, especially if you are with a larger group of guests.
Involvement of drugs and/or alcohol.
- It’s no surprise, people take advantage of their getaway vacation to relax and have some fun. Fun for most, usually involves mind-altering intoxicants, like drugs and/or alcohol. This is a huge risk factor because one may be too under the influence to notice an unsafe condition up ahead.
Many things can go wrong during a stay at a rental property, but most incidents are generally categorized as either property damage or bodily injury, or both. If you were involved in any type of incident that involved bodily injury, you should immediately consult with an experienced accident attorney.
Airbnb Property Owner Liability
All property owners owe their guests a duty of care to maintain their property in a reasonably safe manner and to warn any individual who enters their premises of known dangers. Owners may be liable to any individual who is lawfully on the premises and gets injured as a result of an unsafe condition. Airbnb hosts are no exception to this rule.
However, it is important to note that just because Airbnb hosts are liable, it does not mean that you can seek recovery from their insurance carrier. Most insurance policies exclude injuries suffered by guests when the property is being used for business purposes, such as an Airbnb rental. In fact, some carriers specifically exclude claims from homeowners who are Airbnb hosts. Airbnb has responded to this problem with Airbnb Host Protection Insurance. The policy covers all claims of up to $1 million.
Steps to Take After an Accident in an Airbnb
If you or a loved one has been injured while staying at an Airbnb, you should take the following steps to protect your legal rights and recover the compensation you are entitled to:
- Seek medical attention
- Collect evidence – take pictures of the scene of the accident site, the dangerous conditions in the rental that caused it, and your injuries. (Check to see if the property has any security cameras posted on or around the house.)
- Get contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident.
- Hire an attorney to help you file a claim with Airbnb.
If you or a loved has been injured in an accident while staying at an Airbnb, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney, as you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have achieved over $135 million for their clients so far. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of the attorneys, call 949-727-9300.