We’ve all heard the rental horror stories. There’s this one about an Airbnb host coming back to all sorts of pests, from maggots to lice. Here’s another where hosts are getting robbed by fraudulent guests. Airbnbhell and other sites are full of stories like these.
It’s hard to believe that the host nightmares you find on AirbnbHell actually happen. Some more often than you might think, but we all like to believe that crazy things like that will never happen to us. When it does, many hosts are in shock that they aren’t sure what to do or how to handle it.
Perhaps the most disturbing story that we’ve come across so far is the one about a host who rented out her Paris flat and returned to it, “strewn with excrement, urine and rubbish.” According to the report, it caused over €10,000 worth of damage. One has to wonder what guest would think that’s okay behavior?
If you’ve been through a rental nightmare of your own, you’re probably well-equipped to take any of the scary stuff Halloween can throw at you.
For us unlucky – or prudent ones (however you like to think of it), BookingTeam.com is sharing advice on what you can take to protect yourself if it does happen to you. We’ll also give you some tips on how to best prevent it from happening in the first place, but as we have said before: Assume Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong, will.
Vet your guests.
This is difficult to do, but some services are beginning to offer guest verification. They verify the identity of guests to ensure that they are not fraudulent.
Lay down house rules and consequences.
On all your listings, marketing, and any other online communication you should clearly state your house rules. This can prevent a lot of issues from happening if it is clear upfront and straightforward. However, as we all know, there are some rule breakers and people that don’t even bother reading them. It is a good idea to present guests with the rules multiple times during the booking journey. At least, on the listing and again at check-in.
Periodically check-in on the property.
You’d hope that your guests can clean up after themselves to a reasonable degree. Offering a daily housekeeping service may be an extra cost, but it can keep your property clean. It can also alert you faster if you have a messy, property-damaging guest staying with you.
You may also want to stop in to see how the guest is getting along, but be careful not to invade the privacy of those staying. If you’re away, have someone else stop by. If you suspect malicious behavior, it’s better to detect it early on, unlike three weeks after like the Parisian host mentioned earlier.
These can help prevent incidents from happening and minimize risks when they do, but you also need to prepare for the worst. Here’s our advice:
Get vacation rental insurance.
Do not rely on rental sites to have your back when things go wrong. As a host, you’ve likely already experienced the difficulties and pains of filing a complaint or trying to get reimbursement from rental sites. When it comes to property damage, theft, and fraud, you need to protect yourself with vacation rental insurance. Remember, homeowner’s insurance will not cover short-term rentals because they are considered businesses activities.
Make sure to document the state of your property before and after each guest stay. When you file insurance claims, it is important to have as much evidence as possible.
If these rental horror stories have you scared to go anywhere near the industry, you might find it comforting that they aren’t as common as it may seem. Yes, it does happen and yes, you do need to take precautions and prepare for the possibility. For the most part, vacation rental management can be a lucrative business, if you take the steps to minimize risks and protect yourself.