Companies which operate an online marketplace for homestays as vacation rentals, such as Airbnb, are boasting explosive figures as a result of post-pandemic staycations.

Airbnb says that prolonged lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, has increased demand for staycations and long-term stays in rural or less-densely populated areas.

Our insurer partner Zurich has provided the following guidance to help you manage the risks associated with renting out:

Property damage risk mitigation

Fire, contents and building damage. To help set expectations, and to manage the risks of listing a homestay, consider adding house rules that guests must agree to before booking. Examples include restrictions on smoking in and around the property, in order to help avoid the risks of fire. Limit the number of guests allowed to stay at any one time. If a guest breaks the rules, platforms such as Airbnb allow hosts to cancel the reservation.

Escape of water. An escape of water can be triggered by faulty workmanship, leaking appliances, and burst pipes for instance. It’s a good idea to include a guest welcome pack, which includes emergency numbers to call in case of a flood and information about where to switch off the property’s stopcock. Issues such as damp patches or mould growth should not be ignored if spotted by homeowners, as they could be signs of water leaking. Left untreated – this could lead to an insurance claim of hundreds of thousands of pounds and mean that a home becomes uninhabitable for many months.

Avoiding the threat of theft or vandalism

Deter homestay intruders. A burglar alarm is an effective way of combating the risk of thieves – it’s also useful for limiting the amount of time intruders feel they can afford to spend inside a home. Hosts should also invest in good quality locks and doors and ensure that windows are secure.

Key management for holidaymakers. Provide lock-up instructions and consider introducing a signing in and out process or ensure keys are returned to a neighbour or a key safe – needless to say, keys left under a doormat or plant pot directly by the front door should be avoided.

Valuables and sentiment goods. If the dwelling doubles up as a host’s primary residence, items such as cash, jewellery, family antiques, passports, birth certificates, private documents such as those including banking details and family photos should be locked away in a safe or removed from the property entirely before travellers arrive.

Guest liability

Insurance against accidents. Most people would naturally think about the need for insurance just in case a guest breaks something and they need to make a claim for example. But what about cover for guest liability? Select an insurance policy which provides cover for liability claims, in the event that a traveller needs to make a claim for bodily injury as a result of an incident whilst at the homestay.

Source: Zurich