Airbnb is a great way to rent out your spare space - its convenient and very easy to use. However, it isn't always plain sailing. All you have to do is Google “worst Airbnb guests” and you will see hundreds of entries for some true horror stories. From damaged property to massive parties, there are many people who have taken advantage of their Airbnb host's vacation rental and left them brokenhearted and seriously out of pocket. So how can an Airbnb host protect themselves against these threats? We spoke with home security expert Matt Tricot, from Home Security List, who gave his top 7 tips for Airbnb host security.
7 Tips to Staying Safe and Secure as an Airbnb Host
Do you want to be an Airbnb host? In recent times, a lot of people are comfortable offering their homes as a great alternative for travelers to stay in, and are reaping the financial rewards.
Airbnb enables home owners to list their homes to guests for a fee and at the same time facilitates the transaction between the parties involved. These tips are for you want to be an Airbnb host; it will teach you how to safeguard your property while using it to make money.
Before a rental booking can occur, guests may ask you specific questions about your property and then are required to send verification of their identity in a message through the Airbnb website. After confirmation and payment has been made, you can then provide contact information and arrange meetings. This is very important, and highly recommended - people are far more likely to respect your property if they have established a personal connection with you. Engaging with your guests through a purely automatic transaction means you loose out on that opportunity to create a personal connection.
Airbnb recommends that hosts have enough insurance that will cover damages caused by guests. They will also provide additional cover for damage and theft. For some, this is a secondary insurance option. So, as an Airbnb host, ensure you arrange your own home insurance coverage.
It is important you get to know few personal details about the renter. You are advised to create a PDF or online application form and send to those interested in renting, asking for their pictures and personal details, like a copy of their driver’s license, cell phone number, credit card information, social media addresses and handles.
Try as much as possible to get a friend, family, neighbor or fellow renter to keep an eye on the property and ascertain that everything is in order before renting. The beauty of this is that it will help protect your property once it is rented to guests and you are miles away. Airbnb hosts are provided protection. Under this policy, they will be covered in six figures if there are property damages. Keep in mind that this policy does not include pets, cash, personal liabilities and other common or shared areas.
Before making a reservation, Airbnb hosts and guests must agree on a wide range of house rules, which can include overall expectation, off-limit areas, policy regarding smoking and drinking, and the bringing of pets or other guests. This house rule must be comprehensive and specific. If a guest goes against the stipulations of the house rule, you can cancel the reservation with immediate effect without penalty. But if you and the guest did not agree on any house rules you won’t enjoy such protection.
It’s important to protect your network, especially with the rise of cyber attacks. A home network security device, such as Fingbox, alerts you threats, such as WiFi attacks, on your network. It can also be used to detect presence within your home. If you have set a limit of how many people are staying in your Airbnb home, with Fingbox you can see how many phones are connected to your WiFi, and if the visitor is keeping their end of their agreement. You can also see all the WiFi-enabled devices with proximity of your Fingbox, even if they aren't connected to your network. This allows you to remotely monitor if there is a large number of people in your flat, potentially indicating a party is taking place.
Keep in mind that guests need to know about the security of your property. Experts advise that when managing guests in your home, try and use reliable security systems, like Piper, that are in line with Airbnb’s policy. If you are renting part of your property while living there, then your spaces and privacy should be mostly protected by your presence. If you are not there though there is no guarantee that your guests are respecting the terms and conditions of the clearly laid house rules. It is not advisable for you to install security cameras in the guest’s space, but if you have systems like Piper (which is equipped with a motion sensor) it will notify you if someone enters off-limit areas. Piper is recommended because it is easy to arm and disarm. For example, if you are waiting for your guests to arrive, or you are not meeting them in person, you can decide to disarm the system remotely when they arrive. Additionally, you can connect other wireless accessories like window/ door sensors etc. Airbnb hosting can be lucrative, and even fun for hosts who like to meet new people, but it is always best to prepare for the worst. After all, you are letting strangers in your home. Follow these 7 tips and you could rent your home out with a lot less worry! For any further advice on how to stay safe and secure as an Airbnb host, or for more articles from Matt on home security, visit Home Security List.