All in all, Airbnb is a safe platform to use and it is deemed quite safe from the millions of users that use it. This is especially true if you are renting your flat or property as an entire home rather versus a room in your home as there is less risk when you are not even in the property except for the key exchange.
Of course you will find hosts and guests with some horror stories to tell, but officially, there have been only a handful of grave incidents involving the police since Airbnb’s inception in 2008.
– Check Laws & Bylaws: First off, it is important to make sure Airbnb is legal in your city (which it is in London) and permissible by your building association or cooperative governing body (if one exists).
– Guest Choice & Verification: Next, it is very important to accept verified guests that have verified social networks, mobile phones and IDs. You may also stipulate that you will only rent your space to couples, families or people with an older demographic.
– Do your research: Read the profiles and their reviews as well as check their references. Also remember, before accepting any reservation, you may ask any questions to your guests and stipulate your house rules. If potential guests don’t have satisfactory profile verifications, do not be shy to ask them to complete some before accepting their reservation.
– Preparation: Make an emergency response plan and include your neighbours in the plan. Since hosting requires a degree of commitment, Airbnb recommends reading their Responsible Hosting page here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/responsible-hosting
– Cover yourself: Remember to set a security deposit in line with the valuables in your flat as this is a deposit that is held by Airbnb 24 hours after the guest checks out and can help protect you in case of an accident.
– Communicate: In the event of any mishap, try to get in touch with Airbnb as soon as possible and keep all communication with the guest in order to present it to state your case. Airbnb values their hosts and will always work with you to solve any issue that may arise during your reservations.
At the end of the day, as a host, you have less to worry about since the most that will happen is a band of college kids may have a party in your home and trash your place (while you are not there) or use it for more unbefitting events. However, most of these incidents are covered by Airbnb’s 1 million USD host guarantee. Be aware though that this guarantee is not insurance and does not cover certain items such as rare artwork, collectibles , cash, jewelry or pets. So it is recommended you that hosts secure or remove their valuables before renting. It may also be a good idea to add an extra layer of protection with your own renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.
The sharing economy assumes (rightfully) that the bulk of humanity is good. However, as with everything in life, Airbnb is far from perfect, so be vigilant and use common sense and our safety tips mentioned above, and you should be fine.