Things to be aware of before you home host
More and more people are joining the revolution that is Airbnb home sharing, with the process being seen by most as a quick and easy way to make some money. Yet there are stories out there that could cause even the most seasoned and experienced host to think twice about inviting strangers into their home. Despite the damage caused, in all of the stories below, having a suitable Airbnb insurance policy in place would at least fix the financial damage done by some guests’ criminal activities.
The stolen valuables and identity documents
A woman named ‘EJ’ wrote a blog during Airbnb’s early years describing the destruction caused when she rented her apartment via the service for a week. Despite the person who borrowed her home sending regular updates throughout the week documenting how much they were enjoying their stay, the host returned to a scene of utter destruction. The whole apartment had been trashed, with a putrid death-like smell emitting from the bathroom, and rubbish everywhere. Even worse, the guests had smashed a hole through the door of a locked cupboard stealing valuables and personal documents, copying these using the scanner that had been kindly left out for their use.
The pop-up brothel
The first recorded incident of this dates back to 2012, when some enterprising individuals decided to rent an apartment in Sweden to use as a temporary brothel. The host returned home to a note from the police advising that two women had been caught committing sexual acts during a police raid. Two years later in New York a similar incident ended in the homeowner receiving a call to advise that a prostitute had been stabbed in her apartment, when a punter disputed a charge.
This practise is supposedly not an unheard of, particularly in New York where a prostitute has previously advised a news reporter that she can save around $200 a night working in this way versus out of a hotel. This is also combined with the fact that there is less surveillance and observation at a privately rented apartment than there would be at a hotel.
The trashed apartment
This particular American apartment was actually damaged so badly by its Airbnb guests that the homeowners said they wished the property had simply burnt down instead. Despite seeming to be a regular guy, the guest who rented their property actually threw a wild ‘drug fuelled orgy’ at the property, trashing most of the furniture within. Police advised that they had never seen a house trashed so badly and repair estimates were pitched at around $75,000.
So what can you do to avoid you falling subject to one of these guests from hell? The first thing to consider is that prevention is always better than a cure. Avoid accepting bookings from guests who have no previous reviews (or worse, who have previous negative reviews). Equally, don’t accept bookings from people unless their profile photo clearly shows what they look like and they appear to be someone that you would be comfortable to have in your home.
The other step to take once you have screened potential guests is to ensure you have adequate insurance in place to protect you should the worst happen. The only thing worse than having £75,000 worth of damage caused at your home would be finding out that your insurance doesn’t actually cover it and you’re going to have to foot the bill yourself.
That is why sourcing a home hosting insurance policy, that not only permits this home hosting activity but covers any damage or theft, is so important. Luckily there are a couple of providers out there who are able to provide this cover, such as specialist home insurance provider CoverBuilder.