A Guide to AirBnb For the Holidays

AirBnb is known for being the go-to service for booking places to stay during vacations and staycations, especially for the upcoming holiday season. While AirBnbs offering a competitive alternative to hotel stays for tourists and supplemental income for homeowners, unclear rules and unregulated presence can lead to unforeseen issues for both.

With any kind of home rental service, certain liabilities and responsibilities lie with both the owner and the renters. To better understand legality, safety and liability for AirBnb rentals, we’ve created a guide to help you navigate the complexities and stay on the right side of the law.

Legality of Airbnb

Each city and county has rules and regulations for rental services, including Airbnb. Unfortunately, finding definitive statutes on can be difficult. Before renting out your home or booking your next stay, consider researching the below:

Zoning Rules

Many cities have zoning restrictions for short-term rentals. Ensure the home is not permitted to only commercial or industrial districts. Some areas do not permit Airbnb in single-family residential districts.

Permit and License Requirements

Many times, cities that allow short-term rentals require homeowners to apply for a business license or conditional use permit. In Miami-Dade county, Florida, an area responsible for over $134.6 million in Airbnb rental income and hosting over 660,000 Airbnb stays, homeowners are required to apply for a certificate of use to become an Airbnb host. In May, Miami made headlines when Airbnb renters were kicked out of unlawfully rented residences.

Taxes

In some areas, there are occupancy taxes, municipal taxes, as well as business taxes. To learn more about your area, you can visit Airbnb’s traveling help article.

Ensuring Safety at an Airbnb Rental

Safety is key when renting an Airbnb, especially since the company itself refrains from holding liability for rentals. Airbnb does not hold any standards or requirements for hosts, which can prove dangerous as no one from the company inspects the homes.

The company also states they “may” conduct background checks on hosts and renters. The lack of confirmation means nearly anyone in the world could host or rent from Airbnb.

As neither inspections nor background checks are guaranteed to be conducted, it is up to you as both a renter and/or host to do your research. If you feel uncomfortable, in imminent danger, or feel the house has the potential for serious personal injury, follow your gut and find another place to stay.

Before booking, read reviews, profiles, check social profiles and verify phone numbers. It may also be a good idea to check the cancellation policy, road conditions, local area and chat with the host. Speaking to the host can help give insight into the area and conditions for that particular home location, more so than just looking at the reviews.

You and your family should also consider buying traveler’s insurance, which may offer more coverage for damages and injuries.

Liability for Airbnb Stays

As mentioned prior, Airbnb purposely does not inspect homes, as they cannot be held liable in case of injury, accident or death. In fact, members of the site waive all rights to sue Airbnb itself.

This being said, Airbnb does have initiatives to help homeowners and renters with situations surrounding liability:

Security deposits

Hosts can request security deposits from incoming guests to cover minor property damage.

The Host Guarantee

A program that reimburses host for damages up to $1 million.

Host Protection Insurance

Host protection insurance is an insurance plan, protecting third-party liability claims, including both property damage and personal injury, of up to $1 million.

While Airbnb offers these initiatives, more experienced hosts recommend contacting current insurance providers to see what the have to offer for short-term rentals.

Booking Your Next Trip

When it comes to booking your next trip through Airbnb, especially around the holidays, take time when researching the legality, liability and safety concerns of the residence. Extra care and caution could save you from facing serious fees, penalties and protect your family from personal injury. Taking these tips on your next trip or vacation could make all the difference!

 

35 comments

Emma L
Emma L4 days ago

Thanks

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Mia B
Mia B8 days ago

thank you

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Olivia M
Olivia M12 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Lesa D
Lesa D13 days ago

thank you...

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Mely Lu
Mely Lu14 days ago

Never stayed at airbnbs cuz I have trust issues lol. Thanks for sharing anyway

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Angela K
Angela K17 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Danuta W
Danuta W18 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Chad Anderson
Chad A19 days ago

Thank you.

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Danny C
Danny C19 days ago

I never bought into the idea of staying at a stranger's home when I'm traveling and would prefer an accredited hotel or motel instead. But anyway thank you for sharing. :-)

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Jesse v
Jesse v.20 days ago

Here in Australia it is very common to have the help of an Airbnb management company like https://madecomfy.com.au/airbnb-management doing all the work for you. They handle everything for you and maximise your rental returns

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