Overall, the hosting platforms do a good job of keeping hosts and guests safe. I do not believe in relying solely on the platforms though. Here are 8 steps a host can take to keep themselves safe.
8 Safety Steps Hosts Should Take
1.) Install Exterior Security Cameras
It is easy to think of security cameras as a way to look backwards in time and see what happened, but they also are deterrents. If people know they are booking a place with cameras, they may be less likely to act in a negative way. Problem guests may not even book at all.
2.) Require a Renters Agreement
I take renters agreements through the OwnerRez property management system. This agreement covers house rules, everything from no glitter being allowed to consequences for unregistered guests. It also includes an indemnity clause, among other things. In some cases, bad guests will simply not book because of this agreement.
3.) Communicate in Writing:
Ideally, you should keep communications in the platform. If there are any issues, platform support will be able to read the history. Even if you communicate with a guest over the phone, I suggest restating the conversation in writing afterwards.
4.) Get the Right Insurance:
While Airbnb and Vrbo have their host protections, you simply can not rely on this to protect you. Get special short-term rental insurance or see if you can get a rider on your homeowners.
5.) Take a Security Deposit:
Another feature of property management software, I am able to put a hold on credit cards through Stripe. Most of my security deposits are only $100, but a couple are $250. I almost NEVER have to keep any of the deposits. Again, these work as deterrents in a lot of ways.
6.) Disallow Instant Book:
The ultimate way to get a feel for who will be staying at your property is to speak with them about their plans and look at past reviews. Instant book precludes hosts from being able to do this.
Disclaimer: I do use Instant Book to help boost our listing in search results, but I still wanted to include this as an option.
7.) Set Up Keyless Entry:
You are automatically less safe if you must meet your guests in-person. Keeping a safe distance by providing keyless entry options is (pun intended) key.
8.) Request ID:
I request ID through Jotform, but the process is not exactly ideal. If ever we have any issues, though, I will be thankful I know who exactly is staying at my property.
The hospitality business can be so fun and rewarding, but as hosts we must remember we are our number one priority. Take the above steps to protect yourself and your property.
To succeed at the short-term rental business, make sure you download this guide: https://adultingiseasy.gumroad.com/l/KeystoSTRSuccesseGuide.
Lauren | Adulting Is Easy (@AdultingIsEasy) / Twitter — twitter.com
Making Adulting Easier by Making Money Easier on the Adulting Is Easy podcast. Teaching Short-Term Rentals (STRs/Airbnbs) at Cash Flow University.