For Airbnb Hosts: How to Keep your Listing Safe (and Not Cross Boundaries)

For Airbnb Hosts: How to Keep your Listing Safe (and Not Cross Boundaries)

It’s easy for traditional homeowners and landlords to understand how home security applies to them; buy a home security system and keep an eye on your belongings. But in the age of Airbnb, the details are not so clearly defined. Can you install security cameras in your listing? Should you give guests access to your security system? Which security system best protects both your belongings and the privacy of your guests? To help out, here are a few home security tips for Airbnb hosts.

How Home Security for Airbnb Rentals Differ from Long-Term Leases

With Airbnb, the owner is, at times, part-landlord and part-resident, making the situation different from a typical long-term rental situation between landlord and tenant. In a traditional rental situation, a tenant’s lease holds him/her liable for any damage done to the property during their residency, beyond normal wear and tear, and there is generally a clause included regarding security systems being installed, including who is responsible to monitor, pay for, and actively arm and disarm the system each day.

On the other hand, Airbnb rentals are short-term, ranging from a one night stay to several months, and there is no official lease agreement in place that clearly defines how home security works during a guest’s stay. Plus, in some cases, the guest is occupying a room in the same property where you reside, whether full- or part-time, meaning that all of the bedding, furniture, kitchen utensils, etc. are the same ones you use daily. Because of these differences, there are some special considerations when deciding how to secure your property.

Airbnb Home Safety Measures Currently in Place

There are some measures that Airbnb already has in place for hosts; its Host Protection insurance policy covers any damage done by guests up to $1 million for listings within the United States and is automatically effective for every booking. This is not to be used in place of existing homeowners or renters insurance, however. Airbnb also offers printables for emergency contact cards and instructions for guests. They also encourage hosts to install fire and carbon monoxide detectors in their properties as well as to keep a first aid kit in an easy-to-find location. Airbnb even distributed thousands of free smoke detectors and first aid kits to hosts in 2014.[1]

Complying with the Law and Providing Full Disclosure

However, certain security systems and home automation technology can help hosts feel better about who is renting their home and what they’re doing there. In the wake of the recent fetish parties thrown in an NYC Airbnb apartment[2], it can be tempting to install security cameras in your listing to monitor guests and know exactly what’s going on when strangers are staying in your home or listing. Before you do this, though, check your state’s privacy laws to ensure you’re not violating any policies. Airbnb recommends that you fully disclose any security cameras that may be in the home so that guests are comfortable and know you are not secretly taping them without their knowledge. Be sure to include any home security equipment information either in the listing, or in your message to potential guests prior to confirming their bookings, so both you and your guests are comfortable.

Using a Security System as an Airbnb Host

Wireless Security Systems and Remote Monitoring

Many wireless security systems today can be monitored from afar using your smartphone, making them a good option for Airbnb listings. Some are even designed with this use in mind, with capabilities like tilt motion sensors to know when certain valuable items have been moved, and other sensors that alert you when a door has been open too long or opened and re-opened multiple times in a short time span, indicating that a party may be taking place, or undisclosed guests are visiting.

You can set up these systems to send you text messages any time the system is triggered, keeping you in the loop throughout the guests’ stay, without violating any privacy issues with security cameras. Due to the high turnover rates associated with Airbnb listings, it’s a good idea to monitor the activity yourself instead of sharing access with your renters. While they may want to keep any eye on their belongings while they are out for the day, it can be cumbersome changing passwords and access codes every few days between guests. Plus, if you forget to change the access details between guests, there is the potential that a stranger can access your home and its alarm system.

Automatic Door Locks

You can also install electronic door locks on your listing so that you can lock and unlock it remotely, eliminating the need for key exchanges and allowing you to monitor who is entering and exiting your home and when from your smartphone. This capability is also useful to ensure that guests are locking the door when they leave for the day, or that apartment remains secure between guests without you having to physically be there. In this case, guests will need a customized code to enter and lock the door, so make sure you have a good system for keeping track of the codes and not repeating a combination.

Home Automation Features

While most Airbnb renters are very considerate when staying in your home, home automation can also be used to control your thermostat from afar, giving you better control over your energy bill, especially if you do not visit your listing between stays. You can program the system to decrease or increase the temperature at certain times during the day or week, ensuring that you’re only using energy when guests are in the home. Automation can also be extended to lighting and other electronic devices with wirelessly-enabled plugs, allowing you to control lights and other electronics right from your smartphone, preventing any wasted energy between guests.

Using these tips, Airbnb hosts can further the safety of their properties without compromising the privacy or security of their guests. If you are interested in utilizing a security system for your Airbnb listing, contact a top-rated provider to learn more about how you can get started today.

[1] https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/514

[2] http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/unexpected-sex-party-destroys-pricy-chelsea-apartment-article-1.1723825

 

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