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Airbnb Liability

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2018

Airbnb has become an extremely popular alternative to traditional hotels, motels, and hostels all over the world. While Airbnb offers travelers convenient and affordable alternatives to more traditional lodging, it also allows homeowners to make extra income by renting out their properties. While this seems like a fantastic new business model, there are many areas of uncertainty when it comes to injuries on the premises, host liability, and a victim’s options for legal recourse after an injury at an Airbnb property.

Can You Sue an Airbnb Host?

If you rent an Airbnb property and suffer an injury, it’s likely you will have the option to file a lawsuit against the host. However, you must be able to prove that the host misrepresented the property in the original listing or was otherwise negligent in his or her care of the property. For example, if a homeowner rents his home as an Airbnb rental but the basement steps are broken, he must include this information in the listing. If a guest attempts to go into the basement and suffers injuries from the broken stairs, the host is liable for the guest’s damages because he knew about the hazard but did not correct it or warn the guest about it.

The homeowner may assume that his homeowner’s insurance policy would cover the guest’s damages, but many such policies disqualify claims if a homeowner uses his or her home for profit. Airbnb offers host protection insurance for up to $1 million in liability coverage, but there are several disclaimers and special conditions built into this policy. A homeowner may be better off purchasing an individual insurance plan that covers injuries and damages to renters.

Potential Liabilities for Property Owners

If you rent your property on Airbnb, you are responsible for the care and maintenance of the property. If there are any known hazards you must clearly explain them in your listing. For example, if there is a sinkhole somewhere on the property, you should not only carefully explain this in your listing but also clearly mark it the physical site with cones, hazard tape, or any other means of sectioning off the dangerous element.

A homeowner also potentially faces liability for damage to a neighbor’s property. For example, a group of renters has a rowdy party at an Airbnb rental and a guest destroys a neighbor’s window. The owner of the Airbnb rental would likely absorb liability for the damage.

Is Airbnb Ever Liable for Injuries in a Rental?

Ultimately, Airbnb denies all liability for injuries and damages to renters through their Terms of Service. Hosts must agree to these terms to list their properties for rent, and that means an injured guest cannot sue Airbnb itself for injuries or damages incurred during a rental. If you rent an Airbnb property, their host protection insurance may cover all or part of your damages. However, this largely depends on the homeowner and whether he or she took proper care of the property

While your options for recovery as a renter are fairly clear after an injury at an Airbnb property, homeowners who rent on Airbnb must be careful. It’s essential to weigh the coverage of Airbnb’s provided insurance and compare it to the coverage you could secure on your own. While this may be more expensive to maintain, it can be tremendously helpful in the event of an accident for which you would otherwise be responsible.

If you plan to rent your property on Airbnb or plan to use the service for travel lodgings in the near future, you may want to speak with an experienced premises liability lawyer and have him or her go over your potential insurance concerns and Airbnb’s Terms of Service.