What to do if an Airbnb Guest Damages Your Rental Property

What to do if an Airbnb Guest Damages Your Rental Property
Airbnb Advice
March 20, 2019
Stefan Nikolic

As an Airbnb host, you are undoubtedly proud of your property and the service you are providing your guests. For this reason, there are a number of steps that should be taken to prevent damage happening and to keep all involved parties happy with the experience. With the right planning and foresight, in the unlikely situation of a guest behaving badly, hosts can prepare themselves to tackle the issue head-on.

An unfortunate consequence of renting a property out will always be the risk of damage being inflicted on your property. While these situations are an anomaly on Airbnb, there is always the possibility that it might happen. Fortunately, Airbnb is very supportive of their community and has put several protocols in place to protect hosts. With a dedicated service for disputes, hosts need only follow a few simple steps to set things right again.

Evaluate all Amenities and Property Condition Before Each Booking

All Airbnb hosts should assess the current standings of their property before taking on any new guests. Between all stays, hosts should take count of inventory, evaluate amenities and ensure property conditions are kept high at all times. This way, if there is an instance of mistreatment, you will be able to identify where things have gone wrong and where accountability needs to be placed. Maintaining an Airbnb is a vital part of engaging in the hosting process and is crucial to keeping track of property conditions.

Inspections are also crucial in situations where hosts need to make a claim on Airbnb’s Host Guarantee. As this process has strict requirements, hosts will need to have evidence of the damage and contact Airbnb immediately after the stay to ensure a positive outcome. Reviewing the property after each guest will allow hosts to monitor the condition the property is in after every booking and have adequate proof of mistreatment if necessary at any time.

Differentiate Between Intentional Damage and General Wear and Tear

As with long-term rentals, general wear and tear of a property is a responsibility that lies with the property owner. It’s a fact of life that over time, things will start to deteriorate. Walls will need to be repainted, the carpet will need to be deep cleaned or replaced and other amenities may break or fail. The essential issue for hosts is an understanding of what should be considered reasonable wear and tear, and what shouldn’t be. You will need to assess what you consider acceptable behaviour, for example, are you going to punish somebody for accidentally breaking a glass? Airbnb hosts, while maintaining high standards for guest behaviour, need to accept that when people are living in a space, it will require maintenance and the replacement of some amenities.

At the same time as these considerations are made, hosts should also think about what consequences will occur for intentional damage. If it’s clear that a guest has purposely damaged something, you are well within your rights to claim expenses through Airbnb. Speaking to guests if you have any concerns with your property’s condition after their stay will be helpful too, as many issues may be able to be resolved internally.

Communicate with Guests on Airbnb if You Believe Serious Damage has Occurred

If you notice damage to your property you don’t necessarily have to immediately involve Airbnb. It’s common for many hosts and guests to resolve issues on their own, without any third-party interference. This outcome can usually lead to a much more satisfactory result for all parties and is usually a lot faster too. The best approach is to simply approach a guest following their stay that has caused an issue and inform them about the problem. Following this, they can provide an explanation and hopefully pay for the damages if required.

If a guest doesn’t respond in the way you’d like, you can then escalate the issue further by taking it to Airbnb. With this, you will also have correspondence with guests available for the company to assess, along with proof of the stay and other information. This gives the platform the best evidence for evaluating your case as they will be able to assess all interactions between you and your guest.

In most cases, guests will notify you if something has happened. Accidents are generally reported immediately and guests will more than likely be willing to pay for them. Intentional damage or significant issues will generally be obvious and easy for hosts to assess what the next steps should be.

Consulting the Airbnb Resolution Centre

If you notice damage to your property after a stay and communication with a guest doesn’t get you anywhere, the next step is to lodge a claim with Airbnb’s Resolution Centre. It’s here that you fill out the required information and make a claim on a security deposit. Guests will then have the option to accept the request within a week.

In the situation of a guest declining your request, you can choose to involve Airbnb. From there, they will request additional information and process the claim accordingly.

Preventing the Likelihood of a Guest Damaging Property

Establish Guidelines and Conditions of the Stay

To best prepare guests for staying at your property, it’s important to establish your guidelines and expectations. This can be done with your house rules and a house manual which will inform guests on what is acceptable behaviour. Making guests aware of your expectations and the consequences for breaking these rules will work to prevent any issues.

Screen Guests Before Accepting Requests to Book

Vetting guests is an important part of Airbnb hosts and can help you avoid many issues. This should be done before accepting a booking and requires you to look into the guests' past feedback, which will give you an idea on how they behave. You can read more about vetting Airbnb guests here.

Ensure Your Property is Priced Correctly

It’s commonplace for those looking to host parties, such as backpackers and groups of young people, to seek out the cheapest accommodation for a single night’s stay. These situations are where damage is most likely to occur so it’s important to avoid the likelihood of this happening by setting nightly-rate at a reasonable price point. Guests that are paying a decent amount for their accommodation are much more likely to treat the property with respect, minimising the risk of any wrongdoing.

Airbnb Helps Hosts Protect Their Property

Airbnb is extremely supportive of the hosts that use their service. Offering a Host Guarantee that protects all hosts for up to $1,000,000 USD in damages for every booking protects users in the worst case scenario. By dealing directly with the platform and keeping communication with guests strictly on Airbnb, hosts can rest assured that any issues that may arise will be handled with their best interests in mind.

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