I recently shared a post about how to handle situations in which a short term rental guest damages your property. But as with most things, in this case, the best defense is a good offense. In other words, if you can head these problems off at the pass, you won’t have to worry about dealing with the aftermath in the first place. That being said, here are five steps you can take to hopefully prevent Airbnb damages and protect your investment.
Vet Your Guests
Being careful about who you open your home to can help you mitigate any potential damages. While you certainly cannot discriminate against anyone, you can be thorough in your vetting process. One thing to look for in particular is previous reviews and recommendations from other Airbnb hosts. And it may sound a bit hokey, but trust your gut. If you’re getting a bad vibe from someone right off the bat, don’t afraid to politely decline their rental request. You could be saving yourself the bigger headache of future Airbnb damages.
If there are certain things in your home that you would be devastated to lose, whether to Airbnb damage or theft, take them out of the equation altogether. This may include things like family heirlooms, antiques, photo albums, etc. Lock these things safely out of harm’s way or remove them from the property while it’s being used as a short term rental.
Get a Security Deposit
Most short term rental guests expect to pay some type of security deposit as a protection for the host’s investment. If the guest leaves your property unscathed, they get their deposit back in full. If something is broken, damaged or missing, you can file a claim after they vacate. Keep in mind there’s a specified amount of time that you’re allowed to file a claim (for instance, 14 days with Airbnb), so if you’re planning on doing so, don’t dilly dally.
Use the Host Guarantee
If you list your short term rental on the Airbnb platform, you’ll have the added protection of their Host Guarantee program. This free property damage protection is available for all listings and offers coverage of up to $1,000,000 in damages that exceed your security deposit amount. It’s important to note, however, that this program does NOT cover items like cash, collectables, jewelry, rare artwork or personal liability.
Purchase Additional Insurance
For the most peace of mind, I’d recommend taking out supplemental insurance to cover any potential losses or damages to your property while it’s being used as a short term rental. You can do this on your own, or you can purchase additional coverage via any of the main platforms. I highly recommend supplemental coverage. I faced a terrible situation a few years ago, where an accident caused by the maid resulted in a devastating fire. Nothing can ever replace your sentimental items — but you can make sure that you’re made financially whole by ensuring you have enough coverage for your home and any liabilities that could happen.
Using your primary residence as a short term rental can be a great way to make some passive income. Opening your home to strangers, however, does come with a certain degree of risk. By putting the five strategies above into action, you’ll protect your property and belongings and reduce the likelihood of costly Airbnb damages cutting into your profits, and your peace of mind!