When I talk to fellow Airbnb hosts, I always ask them if they were apprehensive about letting random people from the internet into their homes. The answer is always a clear “yes.”
The next question I ask them, is if those fears ever materialized. The answer to this question may surprise you. It’s almost always a very definite “no.”
The biggest worry that people have when renting out their space on Airbnb is that guests will damage their property. Particular questions that are often raised include the following:
• What if a guest steals my belongings?
• What if my home is damaged?
• What if my guest is highly unsanitary?
• How can I be sure that my guest will not harm me?
• How can I be certain that my guest will not bring an unwanted pet or animal into my home?
These are all reasonable concerns when dealing with complete strangers. But don’t fret just yet… Airbnb has recognized these potential perils and implemented a number of highly effective protective measures.
1. The Airbnb Host Guarantee
Airbnb has insured all hosts up to $1,000,000 in damages and losses on each on every rental. It is complimentary protection, and a policy that is backed by Lloyds of London. Although the coverage is fairly broad, the following items fall outside the scope of the coverage:
• Normal wear and tear
• Cash and securities
• Rare artwork
• Personal liability
For more information on how to file a claim, you can check out the Airbnb Host Guarantee FAQ page.
2. Review screen profiles and reviews of potential guests
Airbnb is a short-term rental social network. Guests and hosts alike are encouraged to create profile pages with pictures, videos, personal information, reviews, and references. Hosts can take advantage of the wealth of personal information available before accepting a guest. Airbnb encourages users to look at reviews, read personal references, examine photos and videos, and make sure that the guest feels like a good fit. At the end of the day, the best safety measure is a bit of due diligence.
3. Add a security deposit to your listing
If a guest wants to implement a financial failsafe, he is free to require a security deposit. The amount of the deposit can be anywhere from $100 to $5,000. In order to use this protective measure, the security deposit must be in place before the reservation is made. A host is not allowed to retroactively apply a security deposit to an established rental agreement. If a problem does arise during the rental period and damage has occurred, a host has 48 hours to report the issue. If a report is not made within the allotted time, the host must release the security deposit.
4. Message potential guests prior to accepting a reservation
When a potential guest wants to reserve a home, he will usually shoot the host a personal message. Hosts then have the opportunity to communicate with the potential client and ask why he is in town, what he does for a living, how many people he is traveling with, etc. This is a terrific opportunity to gather a bit more intelligence before handing over the keys to the castle.
5. Set reservation requirements
Hosts can require that all guests have Verified ID. This will ensure that they have been reviewed and approved by the Airbnb staff.
6. Create guidelines for your guests
Airbnb provides hosts with two awesome ways to help keep their guests in line: House Rules and a House Manual. The House Rules provide hosts with the opportunity to outline precisely what is acceptable and what is not permitted during the visit. Potential guests can see these rules before a reservation is even requested. The House Manual is private information that is shared with guests only after the reservation is confirmed. It can provide tidbits such as the WiFi password, operation instructions for the dishwasher, and the location of the nearest café.
This is part one of the Airbnb Hosting Series, in which the author shares his knowledge on Airbnb hosting.