In just the last few years, various apps and websites have completely changed traditional business processes and expectations. As a result of this hard and fast change, legal concepts have also had to adapt. One of the biggest examples of this is the emergence of Airbnb and other rental property booking websites.
If an injury-inducing accident takes place on an Airbnb property, both the tenant and the owner will likely have questions about their legal rights and responsibilities. In either case, you will need an experienced personal injury and premises liability attorney–Van Law Firm is always pursuing new injury cases.
Let’s discuss a few things that Airbnb owners and tenants should consider regarding accidents and injuries:
If I’m Injured as a Tenant in an Airbnb, Who is Liable?
If you are an Airbnb tenant, you are a paying customer or “invitee,” and so the property owner has a steep obligation to maintain the property and keep it free of potential hazards. By accepting you in, they are accepting a large obligation to keep you reasonably safe. If your injuries were caused by unsafe conditions on the property that you were not notified of, the owner is likely to be found liable.
These kinds of cases are referred to as premises liability cases, and courts are having to catch up to the increase in claims that rental sites like Airbnb have started to amass. A lot of these new property owners don’t fully understand the level of liability that comes with this industry, as many see it as a simple way to earn money on the side.
For the most part, if you are eligible for a premises liability claim in an Airbnb, you will have two options for recovery: either from the owner directly or through Airbnb, as part of their Host Protection Insurance.
Suing Airbnb Property Owners
When you are injured while staying in an Airbnb, the simplest way to recover compensation is to sue the property owner directly, under a premise liability claim as mentioned above. All premises liability claims must meet the same criteria:
- There must have been a dangerous or unsafe condition on the property. This hazard must be open and obvious enough to warrant fault, and the defendant must have had adequate time to respond. For example, if a rainstorm caused the roof to leak a 1-inch puddle that you slipped on immediately, it would be difficult to sue the owner because the hazard wasn’t necessarily obvious and they had no opportunity to fix it.
- The property owner must have known about this hazard and neglected it OR they should have reasonably known of it–this goes back to the concept of open and obvious.
- The hazard in question must have then been responsible for your injuries.
Collecting Compensation From Airbnb Through Host Protection Insurance
Although suing property owners is the most conventional way to recover damages, rental tenants may also be able to collect from Airbnb directly through their Host Protection Insurance. This may be an attractive option if you are unsure about the financial resources of the property owner.
Essentially, Host Protection Insurance is in fact an insurance policy that Airbnb offers to their hosts/owners. The policy covers up to $1 million for a guest’s injuries, but as you can probably imagine, there are a few caveats, such as:
- The injuries must have been caused by the owner’s negligence. However, if the owner commits intentional harm (assault, harassment, etc.) the policy is voided.
- Injuries related to pollution or mold are also not covered under the policy.
Injured tenants should note that bringing a claim against these policies is no easier or simpler than any other policies. However, if Airbnb refuses to compensate you for an otherwise viable claim, you may be able to open a case against both the host and Airbnb for refusing to honor their policy.
Note to Property Owners: Host Protection Insurance vs. Host Guarantee
At this point, property owners may have some questions too, specifically about the differences between Host Protection Insurance and Host Guarantee. Both are extended to hosts through Airbnb, but they are for very different purposes. As discussed previously, Host Protection Insurance is designed to compensate injured guests, whereas Host Guarantee compensates hosts for property damages caused by tenants–they are essentially opposite in terms of purpose.
Can Homeowners Insurance Be Used to Cover an Airbnb Accident?
Another common question that property owners ask is whether or not their homeowners insurance can be used to cover an Airbnb accident. The answer is no, the majority of homeowners policies do not cover renter accidents because Airbnb is considered a commercial use of the property. That’s not to say that you would never be able to collect from it, it’s just very rare, and becoming increasingly so as insurers try to distance themselves from these renter headaches.
Contact Airbnb Attorneys Today
Did you or someone you love suffer injuries at an Airbnb due to the negligence of the owner? If so, don’t wait, contact the trusted Airbnb attorneys from Van Law Firm right away. We will preserve the relevant evidence and get to the bottom of who should be held responsible. Call our office nearest you today for a free consultation.